Egypt’s lockdown measures will be significantly eased from Saturday, as part of the state’s strategy to coexist with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced on Tuesday.
The night-time curfew, that has also seen restrictions on citizen movement, will be fully lifted from Saturday – except for public transportation which will remain closed from 00:00 to 4:00 – cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad explained in media statements on Tuesday.
Madbouly said that places of worship will be reopened for daily prayers from Saturday with the required precautionary measures in place. They will, however, remain closed to their respective weekly Friday and Sunday gatherings.
On Tuesday, Egypt reported 1,332 new coronavirus cases, and 87 new deaths. The country’s total number of confirmed cases reached 58,141 cases, with 2,365 fatalities. A total of 15,535 cases have recovered and been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.
Whilst shisha remain off the menu, clubs, coffee shops, and restaurants will also reopen from Saturday, Madbouly said during a press conference following a meeting for the national committee to combat the coronavirus.
He added that they should ensure they do not exceed a maximum capacity of 25%. Whereas they will be allowed to close at 10pm, commercial shops will close at 9pm.
Moreover, cinemas and theatres will be allowed to reopen at a maximum seating capacity of 25% allowed. Beaches, gardens and parks will remain closed until further notice.
“All public transport will start working from 4:00 until midnight,” Madbouly said.
Madbouly also highlighted that wearing face masks in public areas remains an obligation, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
He added that a plentiful supply of face masks are available at pharmacies across the country. He further stressed that any facility that violates government measures concerning social distancing and wearing face masks will be immediately closed.
Madbouly noted that some coronavirus fatalities were the result of absentee healthcare professionals, and a commensurate lack of appropriate medical care being available.
The prime minister mentioned that the government would take the appropriate legal measures against healthcare workers who are absent from work during the ongoing crisis. He did, however, praise the role of healthcare workers in serving the nation at this critical moment.
In response to the prime minister’s comments, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) refuted Madbouly’s statements. It issued a statement stressing that doctors have, since the start of the crisis, been a wonderful example of sacrifice. So far, about 100 doctors have died of the virus, and 3,000 have been infected.
In Its statement, the syndicate also noted that the prime minister has ignored the real causes of the fatalities, whichh are due to a lack of medical supplies and shortage of beds in hospitals.
Madbouly added there is no need for citizens to stockpile medical supplies, as Egypt has sufficient amounts of drugs that will be available in pharmacies nationwide soon.