File photo: Policemen following up on citizens' commitment to wear face masks in Egypt amid coronavirus concerns
Egyptian authorities have collected a total of over EGP 6 million in fines from 121,779 people for not wearing protective facemasks within the first week of enforcing the newly issued facemask penalties.
According to the Egyptian interior ministry's figures over the last week starting from Sunday, as many as 125,674 violations have been reported nationwide for not wearing masks, 121,779 of whom already paid the immediate fines, each amounting to EGP 50.
The rest of the fines are still outstanding, as up to 4,577 violators failed to pay, and therefore they were referred to the prosecution, according to the interior ministry.
In a new bid to contain the current spike of coronavirus infections in Egypt, the government has started to enforce a number of new restrictive measures, including the imposition of an immediate EGP 50 fine — starting last Sunday — for not wearing masks in enclosed public places, public transportation, as well as underground metro and railway stations.
Up to 4,830 violations have been recorded during the last week of shops not adhering to the closing times imposed by the government, according to the interior ministry figures.
Commercial shops and centres in Egypt are only allowed to operate from 7am to 11pm in the summer and from 7am to 10pm in the winter, while bazaars and restaurants can open from 5am to 1am in the summer and from 5am to 12am in the winter.
Also, a host of legal actions has been taken against 1,529 cafes over this week for violating precautionary measures by offering shisha (hookah), which was banned at entertainment venues since the government reopened restaurants and coffee shops in June.
Egypt, which is currently facing the second wave of the pandemic, has been recently witnessing a rebound of daily infections after reporting low rates over the past months.
A host of steps has been taken recently to curb the rise, like reducing workforce attendance in public premises, in addition to cancelling in-class education and postponing first-term exams at schools and universities.
According to the new measures, restaurants and coffee shops not abiding by the coronavirus restrictions, which include a limited occupancy rate of 50 percent, will be closed for a week and fined EGP 4,000.