In the wake of the recent rise in daily numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported in Egypt and a number of countries worldwide, Egypt’s Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, has presided over a meeting of Egypt’s Supreme Committee for the Management of the Coronavirus Crisis.
The meeting was held through video conference and attended by Egypt’s ministers of tourism and antiquities; religious endowments; culture; education; finance; health and population; youth and sports; civil aviation; and social solidarity.
“Despite the warnings we have repeatedly issued against the spread of the virus,” Dr Madbouly said, “many have not seriously taken these warnings seriously, and have not properly applied the required safety measures against coronavirus.” Accordingly, Dr Madbouly said it was necessary to impose fines on violators: those who do not wear face masks on public transport or in crowded places (supermarkets or malls), and those who disregard social distancing in public.
“A fine of EGP4,000 is charged starting Tuesday 3 November for those who do not wear face masks in governmental offices, public transport, malls, and other crowded places “ Dr Madbouly said. “Shops or stores that do not comply with the cautionary measures stipulated by the government will be immediately closed.”
At the same time, the PM warned, “We may have to take some difficult decisions concerning partial lockdown, such as resuming closure of coffeeshops, restaurants, and sports-clubs. This would harm the country economically, but we have to remember that some countries had no option but to resort to full lockdown.”
Dr Madbouly stressed that the cautionary measures against the spread of coronavirus should be implemented in all schools and universities, stressing the necessity of continued coordination between the ministries of education with that of health in this regard.
As to implementing precautionary measures in touristic sites and airports, the PM directed to adhere to the same system followed in airports and tourist cities.
Dr Madbouly highlighted the importance of the availability of all medication needed in COVID-19 treatment protocols in hospitals and in pharmacies.
The PM said that the sums allocated by the Central Bank for the coronavirus effort would be directed to develop and raise the efficiency of fever hospitals, and to provide medical supplies.
During the meeting, Hala Zayed, Health Minister, reviewed a report on the situation of coronavirus in Egypt during this period. She said that all indications confirmed a possible second wave in some Arab countries and the Middle East.
Dr Zayed reviewed the results of Egypt’s participation in international clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine, pointing out that out of a total 3784 volunteers, 3000 were given the vaccine.
As to the times of opening and closing coffeeshops and stores, the Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad announced that the Cabinet would convene Wednesday 4 November to set the hours. “This procedure,” he noted, “has nothing to do with coronavirus. It is just a change in timing to comply with the beginning of winter.”