Egypt tightens precautionary measures as COVID-19 deaths hit 20

Egypt tightened measures on Tuesday, including a night-time curfew, to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, as death toll in the country hits 20, out of 402 confirmed cases in total.

Earlier in the day, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced a nationwide partial curfew in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.

The curfew, from 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) until 6 a.m. local time, will be imposed from March 25 for 15 days, said Madbouly in a televised speech to the nation.

All commercial centers and shops will be closed from 5 p.m. until 6 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday and closed all day on Friday and Saturday, excluding groceries, bakeries and pharmacies.

“Those who violate the curfew will be subject to measures under Egypt’s emergency laws,” Madbouly warned, adding that schools and universities will continue to be suspended for another 15 days from March 29.

The measures came hours before Egypt’s Health Ministry announced that one more COVID-19 case died and 36 new positive cases were detected, bringing the confirmed cases in the country to 402 and the death toll to 20.

In a statement, spokesman for Egyptian Health Ministry, Khaled Megahed, said a 54-year-old lady from Alexandria province passed away and 36 new cases, including 35 Egyptians and one foreigner, have been reported.

Megahed said that the number of the recovered cases who have been discharged from the quarantine hospital has risen to 80.

Also on Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi assigned the government to take all necessary preventive measures to fight the novel coronavirus.

“In the light of the continuous follow-up of all procedures taken for curbing the spread of the coronavirus, I have assigned the government and the specialized executive bodies to take what is necessary for all preventive measures on the state and citizen’s levels,” Sisi posted on his official Facebook page.

The measures aim to “achieve the highest level of safety” without “impacting the daily life requirements of the Egyptian citizens,” he added.

Last week, Sisi allocated 100 billion Egyptian pounds (about 6.35 billion U.S. dollars) to finance the anti-COVID-19 comprehensive plan and its precautionary measures.

The money will be used to face any repercussions that will occur in Egypt as a result of the emerging coronavirus, including the expected economic damage.

Egypt has been recently taking strict precautionary measures to combat the novel coronavirus, including temporary closure of schools and universities, suspending flights, reducing employees and sterilizing public transport vehicles, government offices, hotels and tourist attractions.

Egypt also temporarily shut down mosques and churches nationwide, while coffee shops, clubs, malls, restaurants and other entertainment places were told to close from early evening to early morning over coronavirus concerns.