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21 Mar 2020 | 09:41 PM UTC

Egypt: All mosques and churches closed from March 21 /update 9

Egypt closes all mosques and churches on March 21 to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country; containment measures in place



Religious authorities in Egypt announced on Saturday, March 21, that all mosques and churches will be closed to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. All communal prayer gatherings are also suspended. The restrictions will remain in place for at least two weeks.

Other containment measures are also in place. All cafes, malls, sporting clubs, and nightclubs will be closed from 19:00 to 06:00 (local time) each night from Thursday, March 19, through Tuesday, March 31. Schools and universities are closed and all air traffic to the country is suspended until March 31.

As of March 21, 294 cases of COVID-19 and seven associated fatalities have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.


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.


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.