Egypt extends anti-coronavirus measures till 31 May, but will open parks, beaches

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Public beaches, parks and gardens are exempted from the extension decision, and will be open to citizens who strictly adhere to the precautionary measures against the coronavirus

Egypt's PM Madbouly (Al-Ahram)

The Egyptian Cabinet announced on Wednesday an extension till the end of May of anti-coronavirus measures that were set to expire on Saturday, but said public parks and beaches will be open.

The measures include the closure at 9pm of shops, malls, coffee shops, restaurants, and movie theatres, as well as the banning of public activities nationwide.

The safety measures were put in place due to a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths amid a third wave of the pandemic.

Public beaches, parks and gardens are exempted from the extension decision, and will be open to citizens who strictly adhere to the precautionary measures against the coronavirus, a Cabinet statement said.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly also extended a decision reducing the attendance of state administrative employees.

The PM also ordered an expansion of the national program to vaccinate workers in all tourism institutions nationwide, especially after tourism workers in the Red Sea and South Sinai governorates have been vaccinated.

Preventive measures will also be strictly applied during exams set to be held later, the statement read.

Students at international schools will be allowed to attend classes only until the end of May. The educational process will then be continued online starting June.

Egypt has contracted to receive 20 million doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, said chairman of the Unified Medical Procurement Authority Bahaa El-Din Zidan.

The doses will be received in batches until the end of the year, Zidan noted.

The country also contracted with Johnson & Johnson to receive another 20 million doses of the company’s vaccine, Zidan added.

Since late in April, Egypt has witnessed a spike in new daily cases, recording more than 1,000 cases a day. Health Minister Hala Zayed, however, affirmed this month that the coronavirus situation in the country remains stable.

So far, Egypt’s total tally of COVID-19 infections has reached 248,078, including 14,441 deaths.

Egypt started its mass vaccination campaign for the general public in March using the Sinopharm and Astrazeneca vaccines. The country had started vaccinations in January by inoculating eligible groups and medical staff in coronavirus-designated hospitals.

So far, Egypt has vaccinated around 1.5 million citizens against coronavirus, health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said on Monday.

Meeting with Madbouly on Wednesday, Zayed said Egypt has inaugurated 376 vaccination centres nationwide.

Egypt will receive 500,000 Sinopharm doses during the coming days, raising the country’s stock of this vaccine to over 2.5 million doses, Zayed told Madbouly.

Also, the country is expected to receive 1.9 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) during the first week of June, according to Zayed.

This will raise the country’s stock of the AstraZeneca vaccine to more than 5.2 million doses, Zayed said.

Egypt, besides receiving millions of vaccine doses already, has taken official steps to locally produce the Chinese Sinovac and the Sputnik V vaccines.

Zayed also revealed earlier this week plans to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine in Egypt in the upcoming period.

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