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Egypt Closes Beaches to Combat Spread of Coronavirus

Egypt Closes Beaches to Combat Spread of Coronavirus

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt — Ras Um Sid beach — Image by © Pietro Canali/Grand Tour/Corbis

In an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus, Minister of Local Development General Mahmoud Shaarawy ordered the closure of all beaches nationwide to prevent gatherings, local media reports.

In a statement, Shaarawy noted that the decision was based on photos and videos that were shared on social media of massive gatherings at beaches in Ain Sokhna and Alexandria.

The photos sparked outrage online and shed light on the disregard and lack of awareness of many, as well as the ineffectiveness of the restrictions imposed by the government to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Last week, the government enforced a night curfew nationwide, effective March 25 for two weeks. Similar to ’emergency’ social-distancing measures taken by other nations, the curfew is set for 7 pm to 6 am. All violators to the curfew risk either a jail term or a fine starting from EGP 4,000 ($253).

Moreover, the government has also ordered the closing of places of mass gatherings such as shopping malls, restaurants and cafes during the weekend, limiting their operations to only the weekdays and until 5 pm. Food delivery services are expected to continue.

Prime Minister Mabdouly also announced that schools and universities are to remain closed until mid-April.

All governmental services and institutions are also to halt during this time except for those providing health and civil services (birth and death certificates, and marriage registrations).

It remains unclear how the governmental measures of prevention will coincide with the upcoming holy month of Ramadan when large gatherings and mosque prayers are common.

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