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08 Apr 2020 | 12:23 PM UTC

Egypt: Government extends nighttime curfew until April 23 due to COVID-19 /update 15

Government extends nationwide nighttime curfew and other COVID-19 restrictions until April 23; follow authority directives

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EGY

Event

On Wednesday, April 8, Prime Minister Mostafa Madboudy announced that Egypt's nationwide nighttime curfew will be extended by 15 days through Thursday, April 23. Curfew hours will be adjusted as of Thursday, April 9, and will run from 20:00 to 06:00 (local time). Madbouly stated that airports will also remain closed during this period, and other measures introduced to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be maintained, including the closure of schools and many businesses.

As of March 25, public transportation has been halted, and most public services and government offices are closed to the public during curfew hours. Shops and malls, with the exception of groceries, bakeries, and pharmacies, will remain closed on Fridays and Saturdays and will only be permitted to open from 07:00 to 17:00 on all other days.

On Tuesday, April 7, the Egyptian government announced that all public religious gatherings will be banned during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. Ramadan is set to begin around Thursday, April 23. The government will ban all gatherings, public iftars, fast-breaking meals, and collective social activities.

As of Tuesday, April 7, Egyptian citizens returning to the country are obliged to sign a written acknowledgement for a mandatory quarantine. The policy applies to citizen passengers of government-chartered flights, and further states that the quarantine will take place at hotels at the passenger's own expense. Medical services, however, will be provided free of charge. Grounding of international flights, first established on Thursday, March 19, has been extended until April 23.

Egyptian authorities closed several hospitals on Sunday, March 29, to disinfect facilities after staff became infected with COVID-19. The affected hospitals include al-Salam hospital, the Alexandria University Hospital (north), and al-Shorouk Hospital in Cairo. In addition, several villages across a variety of provinces in Upper Egypt have been placed under quarantine as of Saturday, March 28, due to the number of local transmissions.

On March 29, the Central Bank of Egypt announced a temporary daily cash withdrawal limit of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (USD 636) for individuals and 50,000 Egyptian pounds (USD 3184) for companies. ATM withdrawals are capped at 5000 Egyptian pounds (USD 318). The bank also encouraged the use of digital bank transfers and electronic payments to reduce contact and exposure. Associated fees have been waived.

As of April 8, there have been 1450 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Egypt, including 94 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.