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Cairo cracks down on street markets over coronavirus fears

Street markets in Egypt can host thousands of street vendors who hawk everything from clothes and plastic wares to toys and kitchen items

Ahram Online , Tuesday 17 Nov 2020
street market
A file photo of street market in Egypt (Photo:Reuters)
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Cairo’s governor has instructed municipal authorities to prevent the holding of weekly street markets in the capital, which is part of steps taken by the country to curb the increasing rate of coronavirus infections.

Governor Khaled Abdel-Aal said the decision is meant to prevent crowding and gatherings that can contribute to spreading the deadly virus.

Abdel-Aal's statement was released on Tuesday after a recent crackdown by municipal authorities to prevent a popular weekly street market from being held in Al-Marg district in northeastern Cairo.

Street markets in Egypt, which are held on a daily or weekly basis, can host thousands of street vendors who hawk everything from clothes and plastic wares to toys and kitchen items.

Concerns about seeing a second wave of the pandemic have been growing domestically, with a slight increase in the daily coronavirus infection toll recorded over the past days following three months of a low and steady infection rate that hovered around the 100-150 mark.

However, infections have been above the 200 mark since 4 November, according to the health ministry’s daily report.

Earlier this month, Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed warned that a rise in the infection rate is expected in December and January if citizens ignore the recommended precautionary measures.

According to a graph prepared by the Egyptian health ministry, Cairo and Alexandria are the governorates with the most infections, whereas the Upper Egyptian governorates have the lowest rates.

The virus has so far infected 111,009 people and killed 6,465 in the country since the outbreak began in February.

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