El-Sisi expands powers to fight COVID-19 outbreak

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. (AFP)
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Updated 10 May 2020

El-Sisi expands powers to fight COVID-19 outbreak

  • Egypt has been under a state of emergency since April 2017, and the government extended it late last month for another three months

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has approved amendments to the country’s state of emergency that grant him and security agencies additional powers, which the government says are needed to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
The new amendments allow the president to take measures to contain the virus, such as suspending classes at schools and universities and quarantining those returning from abroad. But they also include expanded powers to ban public and private meetings, protests, celebrations and other forms of assembly.
The amendments, which El-Sisi signed off on Friday, also allow military prosecutors to investigate incidents when army officers are tasked with law enforcement or when the president orders it. The country’s chief civilian prosecutor would have the final decision on whether to bring matters to trial.
The amended law would also allow the president to postpone taxes and utility payments as well as provide economic support for affected sectors.
Parliament, which is packed with El-Sisi supporters, approved the measure last month.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The new amendments allow the president to take measures to contain the virus, such as suspending classes at schools and universities and quarantining those returning from abroad.

• They also include expanded powers to ban public and private meetings, protests, celebrations and other forms of assembly.

Egypt has been under a state of emergency since April 2017, and the government extended it late last month for another three months. The law was originally passed to give the president broader powers to combat terrorism and drug trafficking.
The government said the amendments were needed to address a legal “vacuum” revealed by the coronavirus outbreak. Egypt, with a population of 100 million, has reported at least 504 deaths among around 8,500 confirmed cases.
In response to the pandemic, Egypt has halted international air travel and shuttered schools, universities, mosques, churches and archaeological sites, including the famed Giza pyramids.
A curfew is in place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The partial lockdown is to continue for another two weeks, until the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
 


Dubai sets up new isolation facility for COVID-19 cases

Updated 1 min 51 sec ago

Dubai sets up new isolation facility for COVID-19 cases

  • Tthe new ward would help authorities particularly in the early detection and treatment of coronavirus patients

DUBAI: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has set up a new medical isolation facility for COVID-19 cases, as part of the UAE’s ongoing efforts to fight the global pandemic.
The new 1,500 square meter building has 25 rooms which consist of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), isolation, treatment, and examination rooms. It is located near Rashid Hospital, the second oldest hospital in the emirate.
Humaid Al-Qutami, the Director-General of DHA, said the new ward would help authorities particularly in the early detection and treatment of coronavirus patients.
He said the DHA is observing global experiences of dealing with COVID-19 to “learn from them” and to better respond to the outbreak.