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Egypt Expects COVID-19 Crisis to Continue Until September

Egypt Expects COVID-19 Crisis to Continue Until September

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

In a press conference yesterday, Minister of Planning Hala El Said stated that there is a 50 percent chance that measures containing the Covid-19 crisis would last until September of this year.

Since February, the Egyptian state developed three likely scenarios in regards to containing the virus: the first sees a 20 percent chance for it to be contained by June, the second scenario sees a 50 percent chance to end by September, and finally the third scenario sees a 30 percent chance that it will last until the end of December.

The minister added in the press conference that it is expected that economic recovery will be slow in most sectors, with tourism being the most severely affected by the crisis. Though she highlighted that now is the “ideal time” to localize industry in light of the decline in imports and increase Egyptian exports.

Egypt’s GDP growth stood at 5.6 percent during the first half of FY19/20, compared to 5.4 percent in 2018 in the same period.

Credit: Ministry of International Cooperation

According to the International Monetary Fund, Egypt is the only country in the Middle East projected to grow by 2.0 percent this year in its gross domestic product (GDP), compared to other countries which will most likely see the worst slump in decades.

To mitigate the impact on un-organized labor force, Egypt introduced a one-off monetary compensation (500 EGP) offered to informal workers registered at the database of the Ministry of Manpower through post offices. Registration had been done for approximately one million individuals working in construction, agriculture, fishing, and plumbing.

A new debt relief initiative for individuals at risk of default has also been announced that will waive marginal interest on debt under EGP 1 million if customers make a 50 percent payment.

The preferential interest rate on loans to SMEs, industry, tourism and housing for low-income and middle-class families has been reduced, and the regulations issued last year requiring banks to obtain detailed information of borrowers have been relaxed.

Since Monday, Egypt has confirmed 2,190 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 125 new infections announced yesterday. The ministry of health also said that another five people had died from the virus, bringing the death toll to 164.

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