Egyptian banks off Sunday and Monday for Coptic Easter, Sham El-Nessim

Ahram Online , Wednesday 15 Apr 2020

Celebrations of Egypt’s Coptic Easter and the spring holiday of Sham El-Nessim are set to be muted this year amid restrictive measures over coronavirus

File Photo: People walk past the Egyptian Central Bank in downtown Cairo on November 3, 2016. (AFP)

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has given the banking sector a holiday on Sunday and Monday to mark the Coptic Easter and Sham El-Nessim, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Egypt’s banks will resume operations on Tuesday, it added.

The Egyptian stock exchange also announced on Wednesday that the market will halt operations for the two days and that trading will resume on Tuesday.

Manpower minister Mohamed Saafan said Sham El-Nessim will be a paid holiday for private-sector employees.

Coptic Orthodox Christians -- who comprise a substantial majority of Christians in Egypt -- will celebrate Easter on Sunday.

Monday marks the traditional Egyptian spring holiday of Sham El-Nessim, which is often celebrated with family outings to parks or other outdoor excursions. It falls on the Monday after Easter and is a public holiday.

However, this year, the festivities will be muted by the coronavirus pandemic, as Egypt continues to place unprecedented measures to stem the spread of the virus, including a nationwide night-time curfew.

The cabinet said earlier this month that all shops and restaurants would be completely shuttered on Sham El-Nessim, as is the case on weekends. Under the curfew rules, malls and shops are open until 5pm on weekdays and restaurants are restricted to deliveries.

Egypt on Tuesday reported its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases with 160 new infections, bringing the total to 2,350.

The death toll now stands at 178. 

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