Egyptians largely follow law on wearing masks, some worry about cost

A woman wearing a protective mask looks on as people wait to make withdrawals outside a branch of Commercial International Bank (CIB), amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cairo, Egypt May 31, 2020. Picture taken May 31, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 01 June 2020

Egyptians largely follow law on wearing masks, some worry about cost

CAIRO: Most Egyptians appear to be following a new law that says they must wear face masks in public, the latest move by the authorities to slow the spread of the coronavirus as reported cases rise.
The law, which came into effect on Saturday, adds to measures including closing airports to international travel, shutting restaurants and suspending school classes.
Those who fail to comply with the rules on masks risk a fine of around $252.
“This was supposed to happen from the very beginning, so that (people) learn discipline and learn the rules. We are a country that needs discipline,” Isis said, standing near a shop in central Cairo and wearing a mask.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, has registered nearly 25,000 cases of the coronavirus and reported 959 deaths.
Infections rose sharply during the last week marking the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan, when families typically gather for the festivities. A total of 1,536 cases were confirmed on Sunday, double the number on the same day a week ago.
Egypt’s population is overwhelmingly young, but cities are crowded, making it more difficult for people to socially distance.
Reuters witnesses said that police in Cairo were not allowing people inside some banks and metro stations on Sunday and Monday if they were not wearing masks.
“Today people are following the rules. It is good that people are becoming more aware and abiding by this decision ... People today are protecting themselves, protecting their homes, protecting their families,” Adel Othman said through his mask, as he stood in line to enter a bank.
Some people worried that the new rules would add to the financial burden on a population where millions live in poverty.
“I need to spend 30 Egyptian pounds ($1.89) a day to buy masks for my family of six which adds up to 900 pounds a month. My entire salary is 2,200 pounds. How?” said Essam Saeed, an employee at the education directorate in Beni Suef, south of Cairo.
The government said in May that it was going to offer cloth face masks at 5 Egyptian pounds ($0.31) a piece that were viable for use for one month.
Egypt is looking to produce 30 million of the cloth masks a month to meet local demand and will in the coming days produce 8 million as part of an initial trial, the trade minister said in a statement on Sunday. ($1 = 15.8800 Egyptian pounds)


UAE to complete more than two million COVID-19 tests in two months

Updated 10 sec ago

UAE to complete more than two million COVID-19 tests in two months

  • The UAE has recorded 528 new cases of the virus on Monday, bringing total infections to 52,068
  • An offficial said it was important to expand testing across the country for early detection and treatment

DUBAI: The UAE has announced its plan to conduct more than two million COVID-19 tests in the next to months, as part of the country’s extensive campaign to curb the spread of the virus.

Emirati spokesperson Dr. Amna Al-Dahhak Al-Shamsi said it was important to expand testing across the country for early detection and treatment.

Al-Shamsi said the government was working with all health institutions in the country to see the plan through, which includes mass testing of public-facing workers in both public and private sectors such as taxi drivers, hospitality workers, and those working in retail.

The UAE has recorded 528 new cases of the virus on Monday, bringing total infections to 52,068.

The spokesperson noted the increase of cases during the last weekend, and said it was due to negligence of people. She said irresponsible behavior could lead to the undoing of the country’s successes in fighting the pandemic.

She urged the public to fully comply with instructions issued by relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai said the return of flights to the city’s airports was a necessary move to support the hard-hit aviation sector.

GDRFA’s Director-General Mohammed Ahmed Al-Marri said the decision to allow flights was going to “herald a new phase of supporting economic activities” in the country.

There has been an increase in the number of passengers visiting Dubai since the lockdown was lifted, Deputy Director-General of Airports Affairs Talal Ahmed Al-Shanqeeti said, adding it represented a positive boost in the tourism sector.