Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly ordered, on Sunday, the cancellation of all New Year’s celebrations, amid a second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Madbouly also ordered for the necessary measures to be taken to close any facilities that organise celebrations, in addition to a blanket ban on wedding celebrations and funerals in closed halls.
During a Supreme Committee for Coronavirus Crisis Management meeting, Madbouly said that the past few days have seen a significant increase in the number of coronavirus infections.
The Prime Minister ordered for an EGP 50 fine to be applied immediately to all violators who do not apply the precautionary measures and do not wear face masks, effective as of 3 January.
He has also ordered for intensified inspection campaigns on restaurants to ensure that they are working at only 50% of their occupancy rate. During the meeting, it was agreed that an immediate EGP 4,000 fine would be applied for any violation by facilities, such as restaurants and cafes. Violating establishments face closure for a period of one week should they be found violating the directives, effective as of next Sunday.
The committee also agreed on the cancellation of any activities, celebrations or festivals during the coming period, and the complete closure of event halls, including those affiliated with the government. In case of any violations, those responsible will be referred for immediate investigation
During the meeting, it was asserted that the government will secure the largest volume of oxygen cylinders, to be available to those who need them. The committee also confirmed the availability of all medicines needed for COVID-19 treatment protocols, and for medical supplies to be made available at all hospitals as well as at private pharmacies.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education and Technical Education Tarek Shawky reviewed the measures taken by his ministry for holding the first semester exams.
Shawky asserted that his ministry has applied all precautionary measures against the coronavirus, to ensure the safety of students and teachers during exams.
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar also presented the precautionary measures that are being taken by his ministry against the health crisis. He further outlined the preparations for holding first semester exams at higher education institutions nationwide, taking into account the measures.
Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed provided a review of her ministry’s efforts to increase the preparations at hospitals which receive COVID-19 cases. She highlighted that preparations are taking place to ensure the availability of both internal and intensive care unit (ICU) beds, as well as ventilators.
Zayed added that her ministry is working to raise hospital efficiency, in addition to undertaking contracts with supplying companies to meet the liquefied oxygen needs of healthcare facilities across the country.