Egyptians prepare to ‘coexist’ with COVID-19 as confirmed cases reach 23,449

People wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk in downtown Cairo on Sunday. (Reuters)
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Updated 01 June 2020

Egyptians prepare to ‘coexist’ with COVID-19 as confirmed cases reach 23,449

  • 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

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.

 


El-Sisi says Egypt will not stand idle to threat to Egyptian and Libyan security

Updated 11 min 1 sec ago

El-Sisi says Egypt will not stand idle to threat to Egyptian and Libyan security

  • Libyan tribal leaders flew on Wednesday to Cairo from the eastern city of Benghazi for a meeting with El-Sisi
  • El-Sisi said at the meeting Egypt’s main goal in Libya was to “activate the free will of the Libyan people”

CAIRO: Egypt will not stand idle in the face of any moves that pose a direct threat to Egyptian and Libyan national security, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday, according to a presidency statement.
The statement also said tribal leaders meeting El-Sisi in Cairo had authorized the president and Egypt's army to intervene in their country "to protect Libyan sovereignty".
El-Sisi met mainly eastern Libyan tribesmen in a show of solidarity on Thursday, days after Libya’s eastern-based parliament urged Cairo to intervene in their country’s civil war.
The meeting reflects the growing regional stakes in Libya, divided since 2014 between areas held by the government in Tripoli, backed by Turkey, and a rival eastern administration, backed by the UAE, Russia and Egypt.
On Tuesday, the eastern-based parliament allied to commander Haftar Khalifa called for Egypt to help counter Turkish support for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
Turkey has helped the Tripoli administration force Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) to abandon an offensive on Tripoli.


Any major escalation could risk igniting a direct conflict in Libya among the foreign powers that have already poured in weapons and fighters in violation of an arms embargo.
In response to Turkish actions, El-Sisi last month warned that Egypt’s army might enter Libya if the Tripoli government and its Turkish allies renewed an assault on Sirte, a central coastal city seen as the gateway to Libya’s main oil export terminals.
Libyan tribal leaders flew on Wednesday to Cairo from the eastern city of Benghazi, the main LNA base, for a meeting with El-Sisi entitled “Egypt and Libya, one people, one fate.” Haftar enjoys the backing of tribes mainly from east but also former LNA strongholds like Tarhouna in western Libya.
On the flight some tribesmen were chanting “El-Sisi” and “Haftar,” a video posted online showed.
El-Sisi said at the meeting Egypt’s main goal in Libya was to “activate the free will of the Libyan people,” a presidency statement said. It also published pictures showing El-Sisi sitting next to tribal leaders, all wearing masks against coronavirus.
In June El-Sisi said Egypt could act militarily in Egypt either if the House of Representatives requested this, or simply based on the UN charter of a right of self-defense.
Eastern tribes and other factions allied to Haftar have also been involved in closure of oil ports since January. The LNA says the tribes act on their own but analysts say their activity in Haftar-controlled territory is coordinated with the LNA.
Sirte is held by the LNA and the last major western city before the historic dividing line with the east, now controlled by Haftar, two regions that were united with the south at Libya’s independence in 1951.