Citizens who violate the face mask mandate in public areas and crowded places shall face fines, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has warned.
Speaking during a Cabinet video conference on Monday, Madbouly added that despite repeated government warnings to citizens, demanding that they adhere to precautionary measures, some citizens have not yet committed.
The Ministers of Health, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Culture, Local Development, Tourism and Antiquities, and others, attended the meeting, as well as Presidential Adviser for Health and Prevention Affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din.
The meeting came amid a significant increase in cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in several countries worldwide.
Madbouly warned that if citizens do not adhere to the precautionary measures, the government will have to take some “difficult decisions”, which may be economically harmful for some. He noted that some countries have imposed a full lockdown, so all citizens have to commit to wearing face masks and undertaking social distancing to avoid such a measure.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister called for COVID-19 protocol treatment medicines to be provided at hospitals and pharmacies, so that everyone could obtain them easily.
He also said that there is a need to follow up on the implementation of precautionary measures at all schools and universities, to avoid the spread of the virus.
The Prime Minister directed for the use of the sums specified in the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) initiative that aims to develop and raise the efficiency of fever hospitals, and the providing of needed medical supplies.
Madbouly also emphasised the implementation of precautionary measures in airports and tourist cities and areas across Egypt.
During the meeting, Minister of Health Hala Zayed said that indicators confirm a new wave of the novel coronavirus in some European countries, with signs of the emergence of this wave in some Arab and Middle East countries.
She added that some of these countries have imposed strict precautionary measures to curb the outbreak and reduce the negative impact.
Zayed reviewed the results of Egypt’s participation in international clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the number of Egyptian cases in the “Solidarity clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments”, now stands at 212.
She also highlighted the results of the third phase clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine in Egypt, explaining that a total of 3784 people registered to volunteer, of whom 3000 received vaccination.
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said that, as of Sunday, the total number of COVID-19 cases at all university hospitals stood at 171.
Abdel Ghaffar noted that COVID-19 treatment protocols are reviewed on an ongoing basis in coordination with the Ministry of Health. This comes in addition to the training of medical staff in preparation for any developments during the upcoming period. He also said that all required medicines and medical supplies are available.
The meeting additionally reviewed a proposal by the Ministry of Local Development regarding the closure times of shops, tourist facilities, and workshops, which will be discussed.
Egypt currently ranks in 49th place worldwide, in terms of the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. On Sunday, the country’s total confirmed cases stood at 107,736, with 6,278 fatalities and 99,555 recoveries. Egypt has ranked in 2nd place, following Iraq, in the list of Arab countries, in terms of its coronavirus-related deaths.
In order to curb the pandemic, Egypt’s Parliament passed a law in June determining that citizens who do not wear face masks will be punished with a fine of between EGP 300 and EGP 5,000. However, with the relative decline of COVID-19 cases, many citizens have not adhered to wearing face masks or maintaining social distancing.
Amid a significant increase of COVID-19 cases recently, lockdown returned across Europe, with France, Germany, Belgium, Greece, and soon the UK, becoming the latest countries to announce second lockdowns. In the meantime, the number of COVID-19 cases has also seen a recent uptick in some Arab countries, including Morocco, Jordan, and Tunisia.