File Photo: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. Al-Ahram
Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced on Wednesday that the country is implementing new precautionary measures for the next two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
These measures include the closure at 9pm of shops, malls, coffee shops, restaurants, and movie theatres. However, restaurants will be allowed to make home deliveries past 9pm.
The new measures will be in effect from 6 till 21 May.
All public gatherings, artistic events and mass activities will be banned entirely nationwide.
The measures also comprise the closure of all public parks and beaches for the two-week duration, including Eid Al-Fitr that starts at the end of next week.
Moreover, the premier announced that the Eid Al-Fitr holiday will be five days from 12 to 16 May, and that Eid prayers will be permitted in mosques.
A meeting will be held after this two-week period to assess the coronavirus situation in Egypt, the prime minister said.
Since the start of May, Egypt – which is witnessing a third coronavirus wave – has been seeing a spike in new daily cases, recording more than 1,000 cases a day.
So far, Egypt’s total tally of COVID-19 infections has reached 231,803, including 173,341 recoveries and 13,591 deaths.
Egypt started its mass vaccination campaign for the general public in March using the Chinese Sinopharm and British Astrazeneca vaccines. The country had started vaccinations in January by innoculating eligible groups and medical staff in coronavirus-designated hospitals.
“So far, Egypt has vaccinated more than 1 million citizens,” Madbouly said, urging people to take the vaccine as “it is safe and its side effects are extremely rare.”
In an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, the government is betting on public awareness and its mass vaccination campaign.
Madbouly said citizens should stick to precautionary measures – avoiding crowded places and wearing facemasks – adding that nearly 2 million violations have been reported so far for those not wearing masks.
In late-December, Egypt’s government imposed an EGP 50 fine for not wearing masks in public after it had been obligatory since May with a heftier fine of EGP 4,000.