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Egypt Lifts Most COVID-19 Restrictions, Moves to ‘Coexist’ With the Virus

Egypt Lifts Most COVID-19 Restrictions, Moves to ‘Coexist’ With the Virus

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly

In a press conference earlier today, Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly announced that Egypt will be loosening its COVID-19 public health and safety regulations, issuing a new set of measures for the upcoming period, effective Saturday the 27th of June.

Starting Saturday, restaurants, cafés, sports clubs, and cultural facilities such as cinemas and theaters will be allowed to reopen, but are required to operate at 25 percent of their capacity, according to Madbouly’s statement.

As per the new regulations, facilities like restaurants and cafés can operate everyday until 10 PM. Similarly, working hours for stores have been extended to 9 PM and public transport services will be operating from 4 AM to midnight everyday.

As part of the new measures, mosques, churches and other places of worship will reopen for daily religious rites and prayers, but not for weekly or congregational prayers that draw bigger crowds—such as Friday prayers at mosques and Sunday masses at church. Toilets as well as ballrooms, halls and event spaces will be closed at religious facilities.

Additionally, under the new regulations, serving shisha pipes will continue to be banned, and public beaches and parks won’t be allowed to reopen.

Following Madbouly’s statement, the prime minister’s media advisor said that the curfew will be lifted completely, according to Al Masry Al Youm.

The prime minister added that facilities included in this latest round of easements are required to follow all safety regulations, such as requiring patrons to wear face masks and sanitizing frequently. Failure to do so will result in their immediate closure, the official said.

The official explained that the government’s decision is motivated by trying to achieve the balance between saving lives and preventing the spread of COVID-19 without harming the livelihoods of Egyptians, adding that the services sector employs around 3.5 million people.

Madbouly clarified that these new measures came as a result of constant reevaluation by his cabinet, adding that these measures are subject to change in the future should new developments arise in Egypt’s epidemiological situation.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, Egypt has recorded 56,809 COVID-19 cases, 15,133 recoveries and 2,278 related deaths. According to the prime minister, the governorates of Cairo, Giza, Qalyubia, home to more than 25 percent of Egypt’s population, account for 50 percent of the country’s total number of infections and 60 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

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