24 million Egyptian students begin school year amid virus precautions

24 million Egyptian students begin school year amid virus precautions
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Students wearing protective masks attend the first day's class at Al Sadeeya school, following months of closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Cairo, Egypt October 17, 2020. (Reuters)
24 million Egyptian students begin school year amid virus precautions
2 / 3
Students wearing protective masks attend the first day at Al Sadeeya school, following months of closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Cairo, Egypt October 17, 2020. (Reuters)
24 million Egyptian students begin school year amid virus precautions
3 / 3
Students wearing protective masks attend the first day's class at Al Sadeeya school, following months of closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Cairo, Egypt October 17, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 18 October 2020

24 million Egyptian students begin school year amid virus precautions

24 million Egyptian students begin school year amid virus precautions
  • School leaders spent the first day of school making announcements to students about essential hygiene and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • There was generally a high turnout of students in most schools, despite rumors of classes being canceled

CAIRO: Amid measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, 24 million Egyptian students have started their academic year in 56,000 different schools.
School leaders spent the first day of school making announcements to students about essential hygiene and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There was generally a high turnout of students in most schools, despite rumors of classes being canceled.
The Ministry of Education and Technical Education circulated precautionary measures for schools, such as following up on those who have been in contact with infected people to limit the transmission of infection, raising awareness among all groups participating in education, including students’ families, and maintaining social distancing.
Mahmoud El-Fouly, a representative of the Education and Technical Education Directorate in Giza Governorate, said that the student attendance on the first day of school was 100 percent. He said that he addressed the students in the morning to reassure them about the pandemic.
“Egypt is free of the coronavirus, but prevention is better than treatment,” he said.
He called for maintaining personal hygiene and the constant ventilation of classrooms and places where students gather inside schools.
Official sources said that at the beginning of term the ministry will follow up the attendance of students and any problems that might appear. Schools have instructions on how to deal with any cases of sickness quickly.
The Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education denied reports that the start of studies in universities for the academic year 2020-2021 would be postponed. It said that the academic year began in all universities nationwide on the announced date, Saturday.
The first semester of the academic year in Egypt will last for 14 weeks, ending on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, with the first semester exams taking place from Jan. 23 until Feb. 4, 2021.
The mid-year break runs from Feb. 6 until Feb. 18, 2021. The second semester starts on Feb. 20, 2021 and continues for sixteen weeks until July 10, 2021.
The end-of-semester exams will be conducted during June and July 2021.


Tunisia arrests over 600, deploys troops after riots

Tunisia arrests over 600, deploys troops after riots
Updated 9 sec ago

Tunisia arrests over 600, deploys troops after riots

Tunisia arrests over 600, deploys troops after riots
  • The unrest came after Tunisia imposed a nationwide lockdown to stem a rise in coronavirus infections on Thursday

TUNIS: More than 600 people have been arrested and troops have been deployed after a third consecutive night of riots in several Tunisian cities, officials said Monday.
The unrest came after Tunisia imposed a nationwide lockdown to stem a rise in coronavirus infections on Thursday — the same day as it marked the 10th anniversary of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s fall from power.
Interior ministry spokesman Khaled Hayouni said a total of 877 people were arrested, notably “groups of people between the ages of 15, 20 and 25 who burned tires and bins in order to block movements by the security forces.”
Defense ministry spokesman Mohamed Zikri meanwhile said the army has deployed reinforcements in several areas of the country.
Hayouni said that some of those arrested lobbed stones at police and clashed with security forces.
“This has nothing to do with protest movements that are guaranteed by the law and the constitution,” said Hayouni.
“Protests take place in broad daylight normally... without any criminal acts involved,” he added.
Hayouni said two policemen were wounded in the unrest.
It was not immediately clear if there were injuries among the youths and Hayouni did not say what charges those arrested faced.
The clashes took place in several cities across Tunisia, mostly in working-class neighborhoods, with the exact reasons for the disturbances not immediately known.
But it came as many Tunisians are increasingly angered by poor public services and a political class that has repeatedly proved unable to govern coherently a decade on from the 2011 revolution.
GDP shrank by nine percent last year, consumer prices have spiralled and one third of young people are unemployed.
The key tourism sector, already on its knees after a string of deadly jihadist attacks in 2015, has been dealt a devastating blow by the pandemic.
Tunisia has registered more than 177,000 coronavirus infections, including over 5,600 deaths since the pandemic erupted last year.
The four-day lockdown ended on Sunday night, but it was not immediately know if other restrictions would be imposed.


The army has deployed troops in Bizerte in the north, Sousse in the east and Kasserine and Siliana in central Tunisia, the defense ministry spokesman said.
Sousse, a coastal resort overlooking the Mediterranean, is a magnet for foreign holidaymaking that has been hit hard by the pandemic.
The health crisis and ensuing economic misery have pushed growing numbers of Tunisians to seek to leave the country.
On Sunday evening in Ettadhamen, a restive working-class neighborhood on the edge of the Tunisian capital, the mood was sombre.
“I don’t see any future here,” said Abdelmoneim, a waiter, as the unrest unfolded around him.
He blamed the violence on the country’s post-revolution political class and said the rioting youths were “bored adolescents” who reflected the “failure” of politicians.
Abdelmoneim said he was determined to take a boat across the Mediterranean to Europe “as soon as possible, and never come back to this miserable place.”
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