Egypt to suspend education in event of COVID-19 second wave

Egypt to suspend education in event of COVID-19 second wave
Students wearing face shields play during school recess following months of closure due to the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Cairo’s Maadi suburb. (Reuters)
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Updated 04 November 2020

Egypt to suspend education in event of COVID-19 second wave

Egypt to suspend education in event of COVID-19 second wave
  • The minister said school attendance rates were high, coinciding with the third week of the new academic year

CAIRO: Egypt’s education minister has warned that an expected second wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) could see a suspension of education in the country.

But Tarek Shawky gave reassurances that should such measures be necessary alternative arrangements would be made to complete the school year.

He said: “The ministry is fully prepared for the second wave of the coronavirus if it occurs in the coming months.

“All educational directorates in various governorates have instructions from the ministry to tighten precautionary measures inside educational facilities and schools, to limit the spread of the virus.

“Protecting students in various classrooms is one of our most important priorities, and we are always working to provide distinguished, high-quality education to the masses of students,” he added.

Shawky pointed out that canceling the new academic year 2020-2021 due to the pandemic was not an option and that all transfer and certification examinations would be held on their scheduled dates.

The minister said school attendance rates were high, coinciding with the third week of the new academic year, and that remedial groups were running in a disciplined manner with no problems detected.

“The situation in all schools nationwide is excellent and is proceeding as planned. There is constant follow-up in schools, to ensure the regularity of the school day and the absence of any obstacles affecting the progress of the educational process,” he added.

Teachers and students in Egypt have been following strict precautionary measures including the wearing of face masks throughout the school day.

An official source in the Egyptian Ministry of Education said that the number of COVID-19 deaths in educational facilities was three per million, with only 75 cases reported among 25 million students, teachers, administrators, and other individuals working in the country’s education system.

The source added that precautionary measures were constantly being monitored and reviewed in coordination with the Ministry of Health.


Hunger threatens Lebanon if leaders don’t act, UK minister warns

Updated 43 min 53 sec ago

Hunger threatens Lebanon if leaders don’t act, UK minister warns

Hunger threatens Lebanon if leaders don’t act, UK minister warns
  • James Cleverly, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, called it “a man-made problem which could have been prevented”

BEIRUT: Lebanon is on the verge of not being able to feed itself, a British minister warned on Thursday, as the country’s financial crisis hikes poverty and inflation.
James Cleverly, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, called it “a man-made problem which could have been prevented,” joining a chorus of voices who have blamed Lebanon’s ruling elite for failing to chart a path out of the crisis.
Since last year, the unprecedented meltdown has crashed the currency and wiped out jobs. Photos of people rummaging through dumpsters or selling their belongings online for food have circulated widely in recent months.
A COVID-19 spike and a massive port blast that killed around 200 people in August have compounded their woes.
“The most pressing danger is the risk to food security: Lebanon is on the verge of not being able to feed itself,” Cleverly, who met Lebanese officials in Beirut on Thursday, said in a statement.
“Four months on from the blast, Lebanon is threatened by a silent tsunami. Lebanon’s leaders must act.”
Comments about a looming end to subsidies, which have depleted already critical foreign currency reserves, have raised fears of shortages. Lebanon imports lots — including much of its domestic wheat consumption — and produces little.
Lebanon’s central bank and government have traded blame over the crisis. The bank can only maintain basic subsidies for two more months and the state should come up with a plan, Governor Riad Salameh said on Tuesday.
Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said lifting subsidies on vital goods without helping the poor could cause “a social explosion.”
Cleverly said any end to subsidies would make things worse. “I reiterate my call to the leaders of Lebanon to do what is needed and deliver reforms,” he said. “The alternative will be horrific.”