CAIRO: Egyptian government officials are getting the public ready for life after lockdown and coexisting with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), after new regulations were announced to stop the further spread of the virus.
One of the regulations is for people to wear face masks when they leave home. The decision particularly focuses on those who work in or visit markets, government buildings and banks. A fine of up to EGP4,000 ($254) could be levied if facemasks are not worn.
The decision regarding the mandatory wearing of facemasks was enforced from May 30 for 15 days.
Nader Saad, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the government was working on the production of a low-cost cloth mask for EGP5, which unlike disposable masks, can be used for one month.
“The facemask must be worn in all enclosed places, including government buildings, private companies, banks, universities, shops, shopping malls and markets, whether they are open or closed,” Saad said in an interview with an Egyptian media outlet.
The requirement to wear face masks also applies to passengers and drivers of public transport, including the metro, trains, taxis, minibuses and ride-hailing vehicles. Drivers of private cars and their passengers are excluded from wearing masks.
There is also a decrease in curfew hours. During Ramadan the curfew was from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. During the Eid Al-Fitr holidays it ran from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m.
As of May 31 curfew hours start at 8 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. for 15 days. This step is aimed at helping employees commute to and from their workplace without fear of breaking curfew hours.
Egypt on Saturday reported 1,367 new coronavirus infections, the highest single-day increase announced to date, bringing the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 23,449 since the first case was detected on Feb. 14. The death toll is 913 nationwide.
Saad said that the restart of passenger flights would be discussed at an upcoming Coronavirus Crisis Management Committee on Wednesday, when the reopening date for places of worship will also be addressed.
He said flights could resume as soon as mid-June.
The government has been working on disinfecting airports as well as applying preventive measures in them to ensure they are safe for operation as soon as flights resume.
Egypt suspended international flights to and from the country at all airports nationwide on March 19. Only emergency flights repatriating stranded nationals have been operating.