Following a request from the Minister of Culture Ines Abdel-Dayem, Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly approved on Sunday the nationwide return of arts and culture activities with attendance capped at 50 percent capacity in all open areas designated to hold events.
The announcement underscored that all precautionary and preventive measures need to be applied per the guidelines set by the health ministry and all concerned parties.
The decision will see the return of numerous events which have been halted due to Covid-19 pandemic, including book fairs, theatre performances and festivals held in open air areas.
A total shutdown of all cultural activities due to COVID-19 pandemic started on 9 March 2020 with the government banning all large gatherings.
On 15 July 2020, the government allowed a gradual reopening of some cultural activities with 25 percent audience capacity.
The venues which have reopened under precautionary measures included all theatres, the national circus, galleries, museums, performance venues, and literary forums operating under the culture ministry.
In late July, the culture ministry launched three open-air venues at the Cairo Opera grounds.
However, amid a spike in coronavirus cases in December of last year, the ministry halted the organisation of all large cultural events as the government tightened measures to stop the spread of the virus.
The first major cultural event scheduled to take place after the premier's decision is the Luxor African Film Festival 26-31 March.
Last week, Presidential Adviser for Health Affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din said that "while Egypt is seeing a sharp decline in coronavirus infections, there are still new cases registered, which necessitates the continuity of taking all relevant precautionary measures."
"People are required to continue wearing face masks, maintain public hygiene and avoid gatherings," Tag El-Din stressed.
Egypt reported 644 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 190,924 since the outbreak last year.
The health ministry reported 44 deaths, bringing the death toll from the virus nationwide to 11,300.
In January, the government started a nationwide vaccination campaign of medical staff, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.
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