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Article Egypt: Cabinet Eases COVID-19 Restrictions

(July 7, 2020) On June 23, 2020, Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli announced that, beginning on June 27, 2020, the cabinet would lift restrictions that were previously imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. As of July 6, 2020, there had been 76,222 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Egypt, with 3,422 deaths. According the minister of finance, Egypt had lost 125 billion Egyptian pounds (about US$7.7 billion) in revenue between March 15, 2020, and June 23, 2020, because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Easing Restrictions

Opening Restaurants, Cinemas, and Gyms

The Egyptian cabinet has allowed restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and gyms to open, provided those places adhere to a 25% occupancy capacity limit. Municipalities have established inspection teams made up of members of the local police to ensure compliance with the occupancy limits.

Abolishing Curfew

At the end of May, the Egyptian authorities shortened the hours of the curfew in the country. The original curfew imposed in March was from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m., but on May 30, new curfew hours of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. were imposed. The following day, it was announced that the curfew would end at 5 a.m. On June 27, however, the curfew was canceled completely.

Reopening Airports

On July 1, 2020, all Egyptian airports were reopened for scheduled international traffic. All international flights had been suspended since March in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, according to the ministers of civil aviation and tourism, individuals from countries with high infection rates must still be tested before coming to Egypt.

Maintaining Some Restrictions

Ban on Public Gatherings

Despite easing some restrictions, the cabinet has decided to keep others concerning public gatherings in place to curb infection rates. Communal prayers in mosques on Fridays, for example, remain prohibited, and public beaches and parks remain closed.

Face Masks Remain Mandatory

The cabinet has not eased restrictions on face masks, however, and Egyptian citizens are still required to wear them in public places, as has been the case since May 30, 2020. Face masks are mandatory for workers or visitors at markets, shops, banks, and governmental and private institutions. Citizens taking public or private transportation must also wear face masks. Violators are punishable by a fine of 4,000 Egyptian pounds (about US$249).

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