A few moments ago, Egypt’s Prime Minister announced a nationwide curfew starting Wednesday 25th, from 7 pm until 6 am, in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The curfew is, for now, planned to continue for 15 days.
All public and private mass transport will be halted from 7 pm to 6 am, commercial outlets including malls will be closed from 5 pm to 6 am, with full closures on Friday and Saturday. This excludes supermarkets, bakeries, and pharmacies outside malls.
There will be a full closure of all restaurants, cafes, bars, and nightclubs, and food outlets can now only deliver.
The suspension of all government-to-citizen services except the Ministry of Health, as well as the full closure of all clubs and youth centers was also announced.
Fines of up to 4,000 Egyptian Pounds and jail time will be applied to all who break curfew.
On Sunday, the Egyptian Ministry of Health announced 33 new cases of infection bringing the total number of COVID-19 patients to 327 with a death toll of 14 individuals, all aged between 51 and 85, and the total recovery of 56 patients.
Parliament has been pushing for this measure for quite some time now with MP Evelyn Botros calling on the government to implement curfew to slow down the spread of the viral infection that has plagued the nation.
Despite the Egyptian government precautionary measures such as ordering all cafés, restaurants, shopping malls, and outlets closed by 7 PM and urging businesses to implement working-from-home systems, many government officials pointed out that a number of citizens did not adhere to the guidelines issued, and there are many reported incidents of cafés operating clandestinely as well as people still going out without a valid justification.
According to a report by El Shorouk, COVID-19 has reached 24 of the nation’s 27 governorates, and numbers are only expected to rise if people do not take social distancing seriously.
A number of Arab countries have opted for similar drastic solutions, most notably Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait.