Despite New Year’s Eve celeberations ban, thousands of people flocked to the streets of Alexandria to mark the event, in defiance to COVID-19 restrictions.
Videos circulated on Social Media showing scores of people gathered on Alexandria’s iconic Stanley Bridge to mark the end of 2020.
Egypt is currently going through the second wave of the virus, according to the advisor to the Egyptian President for Health and Prevention Affairs Dr Mohamed Awad Taj al-Din.
Egypt has witnessed a sudden spike in virus infections in recent weeks. It reported 1,418 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, raising the total number of infections in the North African country to 138,062, with a death toll of 7,631.
Governor of Alexandria, Mohamed Al-Sherif said that the people of Alexandria “must be vigilant” to the fact that the second wave of the pandemic is more dangerous than the first, Masrawy reported. He called the people of Alexandria to follow the COVID-19 restrictions.
In a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly ordered the cancellation of all New Year’s celebrations.
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 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 an immediate investigation.