CAIRO: Egyptians have been ignoring government warnings about the dangers of spreading the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with many joining large street gatherings to celebrate Eid Al-Adha.
Thousands of people, many dressed in their newly bought Eid clothes, also headed for beaches and public parks as the religious holiday period got underway.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health highlighted the need for citizens to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures urging anyone experiencing virus symptoms to go to their nearest hospital immediately.
Egypt has witnessed a recent decline in the number of COVID-19 cases with officials recording less than 70 new infections and under 10 deaths a day.
At Giza Zoo, balloon seller Moataz Fayez bemoaned the country’s economic situation for a decline in his sales. One of his customers, Ahmed El-Shahawi, 30, who was visiting the zoo with his four-year-old daughter, told Arab News: “We decided to celebrate Eid in the zoo to allow the children to play in an open-air space and see the animals.
“But the zoo is incredibly crowded, and people are not social distancing, despite the many posters informing them of its necessity,” he said.
Photojournalist Hadeer Mahmoud said that Eid Al-Adha was an opportunity for families, and especially children, to have some fun, adding that public parks were ideal for those who could not afford to go to beaches or sports clubs.
Mahmoud works during Eid taking photographs, especially of animal sacrifices.
To commemorate the feast, millions of Egyptians performed Eid morning prayers in mosques, before attending ceremonies for the slaughter of sheep, cows, and sometimes camels. The meat from one-third of a sacrificed animal is traditionally given to the poor.
Sayed Abdel Ghafour, a taxi driver from Cairo, said: “I have saved money for the past six months to buy a sheep to sacrifice.” However, the 40-year-old noted that high prices this year meant he could not afford to buy a cow or large sheep.
“The purpose of the sacrifice is purely religious, regardless of the size of the sacrifice, but the sacrifice must be healthy and clean, and this is what really matters,” he added.
However, in Minya governorate, southern Egypt, Eid celebrations turned to tragedy when a student drowned in the Nile River.