In light of the escalating numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the pandemic’s second wave in Egypt, the government issued on 27 December a number of decisions intended to curb the spread of the virus.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly issued the directives during his videoconference meeting with governors. Participating were Local Development Minister Mahmoud Sharawi, Health Minister Hala Zayed, and Housing Minister Assem el Gazzar. He urged the governors to announce the names and addresses of all hospitals which treat COVID-19 patients, tasking them to link their respective crisis operations rooms with those of the Cabinet and the Health Ministry.
Mr Madbouly stressed the continuous follow up of hospitals to ensure the availability of oxygen and all medical supplies.
The PM asserted the decisions already taken by the coronavirus crisis management committee to cancel all New Year celebrations and events. Any facility which holds any such event would be closed, he said.
Weddings held in hotels should be restricted to the number of people allowed by the restriction rules, and should only be held in open air spaces.
Gatherings for funeral or weddings in closed areas are absolutely banned.
As of 27 December, an immediate fine of EGP50 would be imposed against violators of anti-coronavirus measures. Coffeeshops or restaurants that violate restrictions related to the number of customers allowed—50 per cent of their capacity—or break any other restrictive rules would have to pay an immediate fine of EGP4,000 and would also be closed down for one week.
Festivals and events are also banned for the time being, according to the government’s directives.
Officials have said they will exercise “zero tolerance” against people who fail to adhere to preventive measures against the pandemic.
The Health Ministry has so far registered 131,315 cases of COVID-19 since February, including 109,462 recoveries and 7,352 fatalities. But a senior ministry official has told the media that these numbers represent only the figures that come to the attention of the Ministry, noting that many Egyptians get the virus but are treated in their homes without informing or seeking help from official healthcare channels. He called this a “parallel system of healthcare”. The official figures, he said, are thus a fraction of the real figures.
28 December 2020