The number of individuals affected by the coronavirus has reached 656 as per Egypt’s Ministry of Health, with 41 deaths and 150 recoveries.
Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached over 170 countries, with 775, 306 cases as per a real-time tracking map by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.
The death toll is around 37,000 to date, with Italy, Spain, China and France taking the lead for most victims.
New Governmental Measures
As the Egyptian government grapples with the slowly increasing number of cases in the nation, the partial 7 P.M. to 6 A.M. is effective still and is projected to remain, tentatively, until April 15.
The private sector, and much of the public, have implemented the governmental instructions for employees and citizens to stay at home. As such, much of the work has become remote and dependent on technology. However, ‘essential workforce’ employees – those working in the sectors of agriculture, food, telecommunications, law enforcement, public health and transportation – are still required to carry out normal operations.
Moreover, many of Egypt’s daily-wage workers and laborers have also opted to continue working normally, prompting initiatives of support such as the ‘Supporting Day Labor: A Social Responsibility’ by the Egyptian Food Bank as incentive for low-income nationals to stay at home.
Schools and universities remain suspended, as per the orders of President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly also confirmed that the suspension of international air traffic in nationwide airports remains the same date, two weeks after the initial set date of March 31.
Recently, Minister of Local Development General Mahmoud Shaarawy ordered the closure of all beaches nationwide to prevent gatherings as photos and videos shared on social media revealed massive gatherings at beaches in Ain El Sokhna and Alexandria.
Due to common overcrowding in bank branches, with the prospective of the outbreak’s end still far from sight, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) placed a cap on cash deposits and withdrawals up to 10,000 EGP (US$ 633) for individuals and EGP 50,000 (US$ 3,168) for companies and businesses.
For ATMs, cash deposits and withdrawals were also restricted to a sum 5,000 EGP (US$ 316).
Effects of the Pandemic So Far
As the country takes steps to prevent gatherings and crowds of people, Egyptian authorities note of the financial toll the outbreak has had on the tourism sector which sustains Egyptian economy and which was seeing a steady recovery after years of political unrest.
Various archaeological and cultural sites have been closed off, with landmarks currently undergoing disinfecting measures, such as the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.
Such measures are also expected to be carried out in hotels and areas of accommodation and services to tourists.
Moreover, it is estimated that the country’s aviation sector will also take a hit. As the number of cases increase worldwide, national carrier EgyptAir has been running flights to bring nationals back from neighboring countries in the Gulf and, from as far as Asian and American countries.
Speaking to TV presenter Amr Adeeb earlier this month, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani highlighted that the suspension of flights would amount to a one billion dollars loss per month.
While Egypt’s early measures to contain the virus have been lauded by experts and academics, the World Health Organization advised preparation in the case of a large outbreak scenario, which would require more isolation facilities and immediate treatment to patients with mild symptoms or with vulnerable health, reports Al Ahram.
Around the country, thousands of healthcare workers have been mobilized in hospitals, testing centers and quarantine facilities; the first death of a healthcare practitioner Dr. Ahmed El-Lawah was also noted on Monday.
In tribute, the Ministry of Antiquities lit the pyramid of Khufu in red light as to honour the efforts of doctors, nurses and hospital workers as well as all those involved in the fight against the pandemic.