Egypt’s police killed 18 “terrorists" in a shootout in North Sinai’s Bir El-Abd city, the interior ministry announced Sunday morning, days after an Islamic State group claimed a terrorist attack in which 10 Egyptian military personnel were “killed or wounded” in the same area. According to the interior ministry statement, the “terrorists" were killed after raid on a hideout in the southern city of the North Sinai governorate. The "terrorist elements" used the house as a staging point from which to launch hostile operations, the statement added. The ministry said it seized 13 automatic weapons, three explosive devices and two suicide belts. The Egyptian Armed Forces said Thursday that 10 of its military personnel were “killed or wounded” when an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated in North Sinai. An officer, a non-commissioned officer, and eight soldiers were killed or injured when their armoured vehicle was blown up in Bir El-Abd city. This was the first such attack since February when the armed forces thwarted a terrorist attack on a security checkpoint in North Sinai, killing 10 terrorists participating in the attack. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the North Sinai attack Friday, the group’s Amaq news agency said without providing evidence. Friday’s claim of responsibility came hours after the Egyptian armed forces said it had killed two dangerous “takfiri elements” during a raid. The military has been carrying out Operation Sinai, a counter-terrorism campaign, since February 2018. The campaign involves land, naval and air forces, as well as police and border guards.
On 28 April the Kemet Boutros-Ghali Foundation for Peace and Knowledge (KBG) posted its third virtual roundtable discussion on the repercussions of Covid-19. The webinar focused on the effects of the pandemic on refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced people, ie people on the move. The discussion, moderated by Ambassador Moshira Khattab,executive president of KBG, started off with a brief on Egypt’s immigration law. The opening speech was given by professor Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the board of trustees of KBG, who said 2018 saw the “highest number of displacement ever where 70.8 million refugees fled their homes.” The roundtable is the third of the foundation’s series of webinars on the repercussions of Covid-19, said Khattab, adding that the focus today is on how to protect and uphold the rights of one of the most vulnerable groups affected by Covid-19. “Covid-19 is a situation unlike anything we have faced before, and as UNICEF says it does not discriminate, nor should our response.” She stated that through collaborative efforts “we are able to truly leave no one behind.” Maha El-Rabbat, special envoy to the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Covid-19 Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) shared at the roundtable alarming facts and figures. Due to wars, violence and political instabilities, forced displacement has reached an unprecedented level, she said. According to UNHCR’s 2018estimates, more than 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced: about 41 million are internally displace; 25 million are refugees; and five million are asylum-seekers. The Arab region hosts about half of the refugees worldwide, including 5.5 million Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA. The massive numbers of “people on the move” reflect on the infrastructure of hosting countries, that are lower- or middle-income countries, El-Rabbat said, noting that the Covid-19 crisis has added to the burdens of both the hosting countries and the refugees who come with their own baggage of diseases and ailments. The WHO is working on raising awareness and pushing for testing and isolation. However, social distancing can’t be applied in overcrowded camps. “Other innovative methods should be applied to protect public health, and surveillance should be the essential part to adopt such measures,” she said. From a political angle, Covid-19 might be the reason to stop the massive violence in the Arab region and, consequently, decrease the number of people on the move. Ahmed Abul-Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, said “I launched an appeal against all kinds of hostility and conflict in the region. That region is haunted by military conflicts, whether in Syria, Libya, or Yemen, and maybe in other areas so that was our immediate and first step is to call upon all parties to end to these conflicts.” Abul-Gheit said he addressed the foreign ministers of the five permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the matter, noting that Tunisia, the country representing the Arab world in the UNSC, is currently working closely with France on a draft resolution to end conflicts or at least stop fighting in the region. Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said “Egypt has not taken any step to repatriate migrants. It continues to ensure their inclusion in the healthcare system.” He noted that Egypt is both a destination and transit country for five million refugees and asylum-seekers. Egypt is following key strategies in global emergency and calling for the inclusion of refugees and support of national efforts, he said. “Raising awareness and cultivating a culture of empathy and integration during these exceptional circumstances among host communities and vulnerable groups is necessary.” Maintaining Egypt’s commitment to meet the needs of refugees entails that Egypt insures and continues to receive the required international support from donors and international organisations in recognition of its efforts in this regard. “There should be international solidarity with refugees and other vulnerable groups by avoiding sudden and forced repatriation,” he insisted. Amr Moussa, former secretary-general of the Arab League said Covid-19 has shown the drawbacks of the global multilateral system, raising questions about poverty, the gimmicks of influential powers, and the environment. “Globalisation cannot go uncontrolled and unhindered with the very weak multilateral system. It is in our best interest as developing nations, and as people of the world that have seen a pandemic that has defeated systems, national systems in particular, to make the multilateral system stronger to meet future challenges,” Moussa said. He noted that pandemics are closely associated with climate change and the demographic explosion. “Our way of dealing with nature and other creatures should be reconsidered. As we see, the environment is faring much better now. There are no planes, no cars, no factories, etc... but this will come to an end once the coronavirus is over.” Moussa believes poverty is the primary reason people migrate, blaming it on industrial policies and rivalry between influential powers “as is the case in Syria, Libya, and Yemen.” He emphasised the role of the private sector and civil society as exemplified in the new active attitude undertaken by the Kemet institution.“Finally, I wish to underline my appreciation to both UNRWA and UNHCR for their efforts.” Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said “I have been in the humanitarian business for about 30 years and I have been impressed by the capacity and agility of the 70-year-old UNHCR for being innovative even in the exceptional circumstances of confinement that have been imposed by Covid-19. He explained that the coronavirus is yet another challenge to Palestinian refugees, the largest refugees in the world and the most vulnerable in the Middle East, because in most of the countries where the Palestinian refugees are hosted, poverty is twice higher than the average population. Yet the UNHCR has succeeded to maintain all the basic services, healthcare centres, have remained opened, and shifted to delivering medicines to homes. The same applies to social economic support, with home deliveries, and education. But this is taking place at a time when the agency is faced with unprecedented financial challenges, as the speakers noted the agency saw the worst financial year since 2012 in 2019. According to Abul-Gheit, “after the US administration denied the Palestinians their share, the Arab league stepped in calling on Arab countries to help. This resulted in contributions of $250-300 million annually to UNRWA. And for the first time since 2012, the agency ended up with less than $1 billion, while its budget is $1.3 billion. “What is important is that member states at the General Assembly support renewing the mandate. Political support translates into more resources for the agency to deliver its own mandate. “There is no better investment in UNRWA and Palestinian refugees than in the education and well-being of the Palestinian refugees,” he added. “There is no better investment than in UNRWA for the sake of peace and security in the Middle East and promoting the right of the Palestinian refugees.” On a parallel note, Raouf Mazou, assistant high commissioner for operations at the UNHCR, said "One of the first questions we asked ourselves was would governments include refugees and internally displaced persons or exclude them? The other question was what would happen to congested camps, and we have so many of those camps around the world and very often in the developing world which is receiving the largest number of refugees? “The positive thing is that in the MENA region, governments like Egypt and Kuwait have included refugees in their response to Covid-19. They did not discriminate. In the case of Lebanon, we partnered with the government to expand the capacity through the provision of above 285 additional hospital beds and 39 additional intensive care beds. This is what we did to ensure inclusion takes place. “As for camps, we are trying to decongest wherever possible and to improve sanitation, control the movement, and isolate vulnerable groups,” Mazou said. “The Mauritanian government requested the establishment of a quarantine and isolation unit and we answered its request, in addition to providing the country with additional shelters, kits, relief items to the refugees and we increased the people’s access to water, sanitation and hygienic materials. As for the marginalised in the informal sector living day to day, UNHCR has collaborated with the foreign ministry to list those threatened with eviction from their houses to enlist them in a cash-based assistance project. Mazou said Egyptian foreign minister Shoukry was “very clear that people should not be expelled in situations like this. “We are working with all governments to make sure that even if there are tighter controls, asylum-seekers – even if they have to be quarantined for some time – should be allowed to cross the borders.” China’s Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang said “Covid -19 is a global enemy, as he explained the collaboration and efforts China has been sharing with the world since the outbreak. “We have the support of Egypt, Arab and African countries. And now we give back assistance in material and financial support to our friends in the region,” Liao said. “Until April China had held 87 video conferences with 115 countries including west Asian and Arab countries, including Egypt. China signed more than 114 agreements with other countries to facilitate their procurements of medical supplies from China. “With the Covid-19, the problem of refugees becomes more exacerbated,” he added. “Covid-19 has added to the urgency of this timeless problem,” said Ambassador Khattab, adding that “in the absence of a vaccine, the pandemic continues to be a harsh reminder of our collective vulnerabilities, which are amplified for the internally displaced and impoverished host communities. “While access to healthcare for people on the move will continue to be a priority for the global community, Covid-19 has added to the urgency of this timeless problem.”
The head of Egypt s Judges Club Mohamed Abdel Mohsen has commended President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi s meeting with Minister of Justice Omar Marwan to review upgrades of the judicial system, terming the step "very important." Spokesman of the Judges Club Mohamed Reda El-Sayyed said in a statement Tuesday that Abdel Mohsen asserted that the Egyptian judicial system is outdated but is very well established, noting that Egyptian judges face many obstacles due to the large number of cases and the lack of a proper atmosphere for introducing a mechanised system to use modern ways in courtrooms. Earlier Tuesday, during the meeting, attended also by Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait and head of the Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel, El-Sisi ordered the facilitation of further procedures for citizens through accelerating the pace of digitisation, amending legislation regulating legal procedures, and increasing the number of notary offices nationwide. According to a separate statement by presidential spokesman Bassam Rady, the presidential meeting also tackled means of developing judicial and notary work, as well as raising the efficiency of courtrooms across the nation. Also reviewed were obstacles faced by judges and efforts exerted to automate procedures in courts in coordination with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Abdel Mohsen urged using new methods in handling cases with the aim of maintaining the distinguished position of the Egyptian judiciary and speeding up the justice system. The statement said that a special committee of the Judges Club has been working over the past two years to outline the problems and weakness points in the system, with the objective of drafting a strategy for developing the judicial system in line with the state s strategy for sustainable development by 2030. It said the Judges Club has presented this strategy to the Supreme Judicial Council and the minister of justice, to become a starting point for an overall upgrade of the judicial system. The statement asserted that the Judges Club is confident that the justice system in Egypt will witness tangible progress under Egypt s political leadership.
Egypt detected 260 new novel coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest infections toll reported since the outbreak, surpassing the 5,000 mark to report a total of 5042 cases nationwide, a statement by the health ministry said on Tuesday. The ministry also reported 22 new deaths, the highest single day reported deaths, bringing the total deaths from the virus to 359. The statement said 68 cases have been discharged, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1304 cases to date. The ministry said 17 of reported death cases on Monday and Tuesday have passed away before arriving at hospitals. 30 percent of total deaths due to the pandemic have passed away before admission at hospitals, while 20 percent have passed away after 48 hours of admission due to a deterioration in their medical states, according to the statement. Egypt first hit its 1,000 benchmark on 4 April, with infections tally continuing to rise despite imposed restrictions since March to stem the spread of the pandemic in the populous country. Several healthcare facilities in Egypt have detected cases among their doctors and nurses in the past few days, triggering fears that the outbreak would hit the country’s overwhelmed healthcare sector. Last week, Egypt shortened the nighttime curfew by one hour for Ramadan, amending curfew hours to begin at 9 pm instead of the previous 8 pm. Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly had warned last week that the number of infections is expected to rise, yet assured the public that the government is still able to contain the virus. If the rate of infections surges significantly and gets “out of control,” however, the government will take immediate measures that will be stricter than those currently in place, he said. Egypt is seeing an unprecedented Ramadan this year as restrictions to contain the pandemic are expected to take a toll on the cherished rituals of Islam’s holiest month. Egypt has banned all public religious gatherings during Ramadan including public iftars – fast-breaking meals – and the communal Taraweeh prayers. The ban will also include the itikaf ritual in which believers seclude themselves in mosques for an extended period. However, Egypt has indicated that it will take slow steps to return to normal life after the Eid Al-Fitr religious holiday, which marks the end of the holy month. Financial losses in some of Egypt’s main vital sectors, including tourism, have pushed the country to resort to the International Monitory Fund (IMF) for a new one-year financial assistance deal along with technical support as a proactive step to counter the negative economic repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak.
Egypt says it has revoked the license of a leading hotel in South Sinai s Sharm El-Sheikh after it laid off workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, a statement by the tourism and antiquities ministry read. According to a statement on Sunday, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anany revoked the hotel s license over its failure to adhere to directives issued by the ministry to protect trained labour from layoffs during the coronavirus crisis. The move comes a few weeks after the minister revoked the licence of a hotel in the Red Sea governorate after it failed to pay the wages of its employees. El-Anany also ordered the closure of two restaurants in Greater Cairo for not adhering to anti-coronavirus health regulations. Egypt is imposing a number of conditions in its hotels and restaurants, including operating with a maximum of 50 percent of their workforces as well as conducting medical check-ups for staff and measuring body temperatures daily. Last week, the government gave a green light to restaurants to run delivery and takeout services throughout the week after it shortened the night-time curfew during Ramadan. The Egyptian tourism sector, one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, continues to suffer huge blows amid the pandemic after it had seen significant recovery in the past few years. The tourism sector s losses will reach $1 billion per month after an enforced air traffic suspension last March, Al-Anany said in previous statements. Egypt s Minister of Planning Hala El-Said said that tourism revenues in the current fiscal year (2019/2020) are expected to reach about $11 billion instead of the $16 billion expected before the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The National Endowment Investment Group — the investment body of the Ministry of Religious Endowments in Egypt — will manufacture disinfectant booths to be installed at the entrance of mosques to curb the spread of coronavirus, Minister of Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said in a statement Saturday. Gomaa stated that the ministry has started to equip mosques as part of a large scale plan for sanitising and continuously sterilising mosques. Mosques in Egypt have been closed to customary daily prayers and Friday congregations since 21 March amid measures to combat the spread of coronavirus. In earlier statements, Gomaa said that mosques will remain shut “until the cause of the closure” disappears. The National Endowment Investment Group earlier announced it had set up a production line for protective full-face masks aimed at contributing to “boosting the protection of individuals and organisations against the coronavirus.” The multiple-use polycarbonate masks are designed to avoid external hand-to-face contact. The ministry offers them for sale at EGP 50 ($3.2). The government shortened last Thursday coronavirus curfew hours to start from 9pm instead of 8pm on Friday, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. Tarawih prayers, which are special evening prayers performed during Ramadan, are suspended this year. The government said it will gradually ease restrictions after the Eid Al-Fitr religious holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan. The total number of coronavirus cases in Egypt has reached 4,319, with a death toll of 307.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has approved a customs agreement between the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia aimed at promoting trade between the two countries. El-Sisi approved the deal, signed in Cairo in March 2015, after it was endorsed by the parliament. The presidential decree was published in the official gazette on Thursday. The agreement is designed to streamline trade between Egypt and Saudi Arabia and boost customs controls to combat illegal trade. It also aims at facilitating goods transfer through the customs transit system in both countries. The agreement is also intended to strengthen administrative cooperation and training in the field of customs through the exchange of information and technical support between the two countries.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met on Tuesday with representatives of the Syrian Opposition High Negotiations Committee “HNC” in Cairo, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement. According to the statement, both sides discussed ways to boost the political reconciliation process in the war-torn Country. Egypt is keen to support efforts for a political reconciliation in Syria in accordance to the UN security council resolution No.2254 that aims at the restoration of security and stability in the war-torn country and that achieves the aspirations of Syrian people. From their side, the HNC delegation expressed their appreciation of the "Egyptian balanced role to reach out for all Syrian parties and political powers in order to end the Syrian crisis as soon as possible."
Egypt’s parliament – the House of Representatives – approved on Tuesday amending two laws aiming to contain the negative economic impact of the coronavirus. The house approved amending two articles of the real estate and property tax law (196/2008) to relieve businesses of some tax burdens imposed on their affiliated lands. Maait told MPs that the legislative amendments aim to give exemptions to industries and businesses negatively affected by the precautionary measures taken to fight the coronavirus. "These amendments were approved by the cabinet and aim to relieve industries and businesses of some of the tax burdens to help them weather the economic storm of the coronavirus," said Maait. The amendment states that lands owned by industries and businesses are to be exempted from the real estate tax provided that these lands are used in industrial and production activities. The executive regulations will give the finance minister the power to estimate the value of the tax exemptions and determine how long they will be in place. "And upon a report to be submitted by the finance minister, the cabinet will decide whether industries using their affiliated lands in industrial, strategic and service activities are eligible for real estate tax exemptions," said the government report on the amended law. Parliament also approved amending the current state 2019/20 budget to earmark an EGP 10 billion allocation to help fight the coronavirus and stimulate the economy at the same time. Maait explained that due to the critical conditions imposed by the spread of the coronavirus, the government was forced to ask parliament to amend the 2019/20 budget to allocate EGP 10 billion to meet this objective. "This additional allocation aims to help the day and seasonal labourers negatively affected by the precautionary measures taken to contain the coronavirus, not to mention that it also aims to push the wheels of production in many sectors," said Maait, also explaining that "the EGP 10 billion is part of an emergency plan estimated at EGP 100 billion which was approved by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on 14 March to mitigate the economic cost of the coronavirus on Egypt." Meanwhile, parliament also approved a new seven-article government-drafted law on "financial measures necessary to contain the negative impact of the coronavirus on productive, economic and service sectors." "The law gives the cabinet the power to intervene to suspend the payment of certain taxes and other financial obligations such as social insurance or allow them to be paid in long-term instalments," said Maait. The law states that the postponement will be for a renewable three-month period, and stipulates that businesses are not to fire workers or even cut their salaries to be eligible for the postponement. Parliament also approved amendments to four articles of the income tax law (law 91/2005). Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait told MPs that the amendments aim to achieve social justice, particularly for low-income citizens and state employees. "The amendments help these brackets relieve some of the income tax burdens, and I can say that these amendments will help a low-income state employee raise his salary by EGP 2,000 a month," Maait said. Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said that although the articles of these laws have been approved by MPs, the final vote on them will be postponed to another date.
Following a 40-day suspension, Egypt’s parliament – the House of Representatives – will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss a number of legislative amendments necessary to contain the negative impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus. The amendment of the law regulating the state of emergency will feature prominently on the agenda of the discussion. According to a parliamentary report, four articles of the emergency law (162/1958) will be amended to give the president new powers necessary to handle critical health situations such as the outbreak of the coronavirus. "The powers, which were not part of the law when it was issued for the first time in 1958, include giving the president the right to suspend the school and university year and postpone the payment of taxes and electricity and water bills, etc," said the report. The amendments were approved by the legislative and constitutional affairs committee in an urgent meeting on Saturday. Parliament is also expected to renew the extension of the state of emergency for another three months, beginning on 27 April. In economic terms, parliament will discuss and vote on eight laws aiming to contain the negative financial impact of the coronavirus. The list will include a seven-article law on the financial measures necessary to contain the negative impact of the virus on the state s economic, production and service sectors. The law gives the cabinet the right to intervene to postpone the payment of certain taxes and social insurance to help businesses provided that they do not fire workers or cut their salaries. The house will also amend four articles of the income tax law 991/2005) to give new exemptions to low and limited-income brackets. The real estate and property tax law (196/2008) will be also amended to relieve businesses of some tax burdens imposed on their affiliated lands. The amendment of four articles of the current state budget 2019/20 will also be discussed to procure an allocation of EGP 10 billion necessary to mitigate the financial cost of the coronavirus and stimulate the national economy at the same time. The House will also take a vote on legislative amendments aiming to increase pensions by 80 percent, and give bonuses to state employees that will increase their salaries by 12 percent. The legislative agenda this week also includes discussing a new 113-article law drafted to regulate small, micro and medium-scale productive enterprises in order to boost their contribution to the national economy. The House will also discuss a 19-article law on regulating the performance of psychiatrists and the professionals who care for psychologically troubled patients. The House is also expected to take a final vote on two laws that were discussed in January and February. The first is a 22-artice law on Central Depository and Registration (93/2000), and the second is a new four-article law regulating the performance of deputy provincial governors. Parliament took this week a number of strict anti-coronavirus measures. MPs and parliamentary reporters will be allowed to enter the House s building only after they test negative for the coronavirus and pass through glass self-sterilisation chambers. Guests and visitors will not be allowed to enter parliament. Parliament s secretary-general Mahmoud Fawzi indicated in a statement on Sunday that parliament s decision to reconvene this week sends a message that its meetings will continue while at the same time taking the necessary anti-coronavirus precautionary measures. He revealed that the Ministry of Military Production has provided parliament with all the necessary sterilisation equipment and material necessary to prevent the infiltration of the virus. "Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal has expressed deep thanks to Minister of Military Production Mohamed Al-Assar and to his ministry for producing high-quality sterilisation equipment and material in record time," Fawzi said.
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed announced on Thursday the arrival of a shipment of medical supplies from the People s Republic of China, a gift aimed at improving cooperation to combat the novel coronavirus COVID-19. In a statement, Zayed thanked the government and people of China for the gift, emphasizing the strength of bilateral relations between the two countries. She also praised the precautionary measures taken by China to protect its citizens in accordance to the guidelines of the World Health Organization, measures that have greatly contributed to curbing the spread of the virus. Health Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Megahed said that the shipment consisted of four tons of medical supplies, including 20,000 N95 face masks, 10,000 articles of protective clothing, and 10,000 coronavirus detectors. The Chinese ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang announced that China will provide technical information to Egypt to help in tackling coronavirus, explaining that a video conference had been held wherein Chinese and Egyptian experts exchanged information regarding their experience in dealing with the virus. Liqiang said that the shipment is the first batch of aid that China will provide to Egypt, and that more aid will be sent to other countries during the next few days. Liqiang also revealed that there will be an increase in the production capacity of the Egyptian-Chinese factory currently producing face masks in Cairo, saying that the number of production lines will be increased to five. The capacity of each line is 100,000 masks per day. The increase will therefore contribute significantly to increasing the stock of preventative medical supplies in Egypt. Zayed visited the People s Republic of China on March 1, to communicate a message of solidarity from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and to deliver a shipment of medical supplies to help counter the coronavirus. This was not the first time Egypt offered solidarity to other countries amid the coronavirus outbreak. At the beginning of April, two military planes were sent to Italy with medical supplies to provide aid. Following President Sisi s directives, the Egyptian armed forces loaded two military aircraft with medical supplies, protective suits and disinfection materials. Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady said that this was in keeping with the historical bond between Egypt and Italy, with the aim of reducing the burden Italy is facing in its current crisis — especially regarding the severe shortage of medicines, medical supplies and protective tools as the coronavirus ravaged the country.
Egypt reported on Wednesday 155 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases so far to 2,505. The death toll now stands at 183, with five new fatalities registered on Wednesday, the health ministry said. The ministry also said that 39 Egyptians fully recovered and left isolation hospitals on Wednesday, which brings the total number of recoveries from the virus to 553. The number of cases who have re-tested negative for the virus, including those who have left hospital after recovering, has now reached 751, ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said. Egypt recorded on Tuesday its highest daily record of coronavirus cases, with new 160 infections. Minister of Health Hala Zayed held a periodic meeting on Wednesday with medical and administrative staff at four isolation hospitals via video conference, namely Al-Negila, Qaha, Baltim, and Malawi hospitals, to follow up on the application of updated treatment protocols and to ensure the fulfilment of necessary measures. The minister said that the 14 isolation hospitals currently operating in the country represent about half the total hospitals that were planned to be operated in the current stage. She added that there are 56 fever hospitals operating as diagnosis and referral hospitals, and 25 laboratories have been linked to the central network of labs across the country. Zayed also noted the activation of an inquiry and complaint line for medical service providers related to the coronavirus through the hotline 105 and the WhatsApp number 01048484721, which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Since the first case was discovered in Mid-February, the Egyptian government has adopted preventive measures including the closure of schools and universities and the suspension of international flights. The government also introduced a series of other sweeping measures in March to curb the spread of the virus, including imposing a nighttime curfew, banning large gatherings, shutting mosques and churches. Egypt s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly warned on Wednesday that authorities will use “utmost force” to confront attempts to breach restrictive measures against the coronavirus during next week s springtime holiday. During a meeting with governors via video conference, Mabdouly stressed the importance of the “strict implementation of all precautionary measures to prevent any gatherings" during the traditional holiday of Sham El-Nessim next Monday. Egyptians usually mark the Sham El-Nessim holiday with picnics at parks or other outdoor excursions but the celebrations this year will be subdued amid restrictive measures to limit the pandemic. The country is currently under a nighttime curfew from 8 pm to 6 am until 23 April. Under the rules, all malls and shops -- except for pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores and bakeries -- should close at 5 pm on weekdays and be completely shuttered on weekends. Restaurants are only restricted to deliveries. The cabinet had said earlier that shops and malls will be totally shut on Sham El-Nessim holiday as is the case on weekends.
Authorities have placed a Gharbiya governorate village into lockdown on Monday, after confirming that 18 residents were infected with the coronavirus. Police closed the entrances and exits to Saft Torab village in al-Mahalla al-Kubra city, with nobody allowed to leave or enter for 14 days. The head of Mahalla Hatem Zain granted all state servants in the village a leave in order to control infections – a decision which applies to those inside and outside the settlement. And the Undersecretary of the Health Ministry in Gharbiya Abdel-Nasser Hemaida dispatched a specialized medical team to check on the villagers, and test relatives of those suspected to be infected. Egypt on Monday confirmed 125 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country s number of confirmed total cases so far to 2,190. The total number of COVID-19 deaths has now reached a hundred and sixty-four nationwide. This is the second village in Mahalla to be placed under lockdown over the coronavirus outbreak. A lockdown was imposed on March 31 at al-Hayatem village, after eight people contracted the coronavirus and 22 others were suspected to be infected.
n a bid to deal with COVID-19 impacts on various aspects of Egyptians daily life based on innovation potential, Flat6Labs, a regional startup accelerator programme, has launched, through its Start Egypt Initiative, the “Corona Hackathon” under the theme of “Crisis Awareness Challenge”, announcing three winners. “Corona Hackathon” is an online competition that targeted Egyptian innovators with ideas that could help in combating the COVID-19 crisis. It is financed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank member, Commercial International Bank (CIB), and the Egyptian Red Crescent Society. Speaking to Ahram Online, Executive Director of Start Egypt Initiative Hassan Mansi said that innovations are best unleashed at times of crises. Innovations create solutions that can deal with problems, difficulties, and challenges societies face. The idea of the application is based on helping users keep a medical record, and medical prescriptions, and it provides users with online medical consultations if COVID-19 symptoms are detected, especially that Mohamed Abdallah, the app developer has lost his medical records in the wake of the COVID-19 dreadful outbreak in Italy. "COVID-19 imposes significant global challenges that require out-of-the-box solutions that can help keep individuals safe and avoid the likely negative impacts they could face in their daily lives,” Mansi added. The three challenges that “Corona Hackathon” has adopted include a safe public transport, enriching the irregular labourers, and a safe currency challenge, with a total prizes of EGP 20,000. The innovations that won the competition were OCRA-Fare Initiative, based on a smartphone application which facilitates e-payments instead of using cash in public transports, in addition to Cayshly Company that innovated a unified payment system for riders and drivers in the public transport. The third winner was IZZY-Health application, which was developed by an Egyptian businessman residing in Italy.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal announced on Sunday that parliament will meet on 29 April and that it will no longer postpone its meetings despite the threat of the coronavirus. Abdel-Aal said parliament has a busy schedule on 29 April and that it will observe social distancing protocols in line with the precautionary measures taken by the government and the health ministry to help contain the coronavirus. "MPs will not sit close to each other," Abdel-Aal said. Parliament was scheduled to meet on 29 March but it decided to postpone its sessions until 12 April, and then it decided to extend the suspension until 29 April. Abdel-Aal said parliament will discuss a number of important laws tackling real estate taxes and the treatment of epidemic diseases when it meets on 29 April. The speaker praised the efforts being exerted to fight the coronavirus and stimulate the economy, adding that parliament has allocated EGP 25 million in donations earmarked to contain the virus. "This is part of our national duty in such critical times," said Abdel-Aal.
China s Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang inaugurated Thursday a new plant for manufacturing medical face masks established in the free industrial zone in Cairo. The new plant was established with joint Egyptian-Chinese investment. It will have a total productive capacity of 1.7 million masks per day, which is expected to multiply Egypt s production of medical face masks by a factor of eight. Liqiang said the plant is a model of profound relations between Egypt and China, adding that China is supporting Egypt s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak crisis. Cabinet protocol officer Alaa Al-Shreif said the new plant was established to meet domestic market needs for medical face masks. Head of the medical supplies division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Mohamed Ismail said the major share of plant production will be headed to the domestic market, to back state s efforts to curb the COVID-19 outbreak. He added that the Chinese side has modified the plant s final product export percentage for the sake of providing Egypt s domestic needs. “With inaugurating that plant, Egypt became the first investment destination for China amid the COVID-19 outbreak crisis, which reflects the profound relations between the two countries,” Ismail added. Meanwhile, executive director of Euromed for Medical Industries Omar Abdo said that the plant includes 10 machines with a productive capacity of 12,000 face masks per day each, adding that the plant started production officially 7 April. He added that the new plant is expected to increase Egypt s production of medical face masks to 1.7 million pieces per day. Abdo also clarified that Chinese side will provide Egypt with all supplies and materials for the new plant. China is also considering collaborating with Egypt to produce body temperature scanners and other medical sets.
Egypt s health ministry has announced that 110 new coronavirus cases have been detected and nine people have died from the virus on Wednesday. The total number of cases has now reached 1,560 and the number of fatalities is up to 103. The ministry added in a statement that 29 more patients – 27 Egyptians and two foreigners – have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals on Wednesday. The number of people whose test results have turned from positive to negative so far has reached 439, among whom 305 have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals. The newly detected cases are Egyptians, with the exception of two foreigners, and all are receiving treatment in quarantine hospitals as per the World Health Organisation s guidelines. Earlier today, Egypt extended a nationwide night-time curfew by two weeks in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus as the country s infection tally continues to rise. The country also extended other preventative measures including the closure of schools and universities and the suspension of international flight for the same period. In a televised press briefing earlier today, the prime minister said the current infection count in Egypt is in line with the government s projections, adding that "there will be increases in the number of infections in the coming two or three weeks." He also warned of the doubling of the infection rates, saying, “If the number of cases doubles, this would mean we are approaching a scenario similar to that of countries where things have gone out of control.”
On the occasion of the Celebration of the International Health Day on 7 April, The Egyptian Supreme Standing Committee for Human Rights (SSCHR) issued a report reviewing state s efforts to uphold the right to health, given the current health global crisis of the coronavirus outbreak. Ahram Online obtained a copy of the report, which, the organization says, comes within an unprecedented challenge due to the COVID-19 outbreak . The Technical Secretariat of the Supreme Standing Committee of Human Rights developed on the occasion of International Health Day a report on Egyptian efforts to uphold the right to health at the level of national legislation, policies and indicators. Recently the Committee issued a detailed and specialized report on national efforts to uphold human rights in its response to COVID-19. On constitutional framework to uphold the right to health, The current Egyptian constitution firmly upholds health and relevant rights. The Constitution initially provides for the right of every single citizen to health in Article 18 thereof, which is one of the lengthiest articles, as it details the citizen’s right to integrated health care in compliance with quality standards , the report said. The state, by virtue of the same articles, shall ensure preservation, support and capacity building of public health service facilities providing services to the people whilst ensuring the geographical distribution thereof. The State, also, shall allocate a percentage of no less than 3% of GDP for health, to be increased progressively. The constitution incriminates abstention from providing treatment to every human being in emergencies or life-threatening cases notwithstanding the form thereof , it added. According to Article 18, the state shall cover a host of other matters, including improving the financial situation of physicians, nurses, and paramedics as they are at the front line of defense against the disease. All health facilities, products and materials shall be subject to the state control as well as health related media. The state encourages the participation of the private and civil society sectors in providing health care , the SSCHR noted. The report also referred to the constitution s incrimination of any abuse of human physical inviolability or human organs trafficking or running any medical or scientific experiments on humans without their free documented consent as per the rules of medical science (Article 60). The SSCHR refered to a number of Egyptian constituion articles regulating the right to health as follows: - The Egyptian constitution addresses donation of tissues and organs and provides that the state should regulate the rules of organ donations and transplantation (Article 61). - The Constitution ensures the citizens’ right to adequate, safe and healthy housing (Article 78) as well as the right to healthy adequate food and clean water (Article 79). The Constitution enumerates health rights for children including compulsory free immunization, health care and staple nutrition, as well as the rights of children with disabilities to ensure their rehabilitation (Article 80). The State shall, by constitution, ensure the health rights of persons with disabilities and pygmies (Article 81), and to ensure the health rights of senior citizens (Article 8). As for upholding the right to health within Egypt Vision 2030: Health policies acquire special significance in strategic planning as expressed in Egypt Vision 2030 which provides for a number of targets in relation to upholding the right to health as , the report said, citing these targets as follows: Achieving better, fairer and more equitable health results to boost welfare and economic development. Achieving comprehensive health coverage for all Egyptians to secure their needs of safe quality health services as and when needed less the financial burden. Increasing investment in health while guaranteeing the optimization of available resources. Developing and bolstering public health programmes that enhance and protect health. Ensuring quality and safety of health services. Improving the health sector governance to guarantee the effective, responsible and transparent management thereof at all levels. Egypt Vision 2030 provides for a number of key performance indicators including: extension of life expectancy until seventy nine years of age; reduction of infant and under-5 mortality rates by 50%; reduction of maternity mortality rate by 60%; narrowing the remarkable gap in health results; ending all forms of malnutrition; reduction of the financial burden emanating from out-of-pocket expenditure by 24%; satisfaction of the fair and equitable accessibility by all citizens to necessary health interventions to 80%; ensuring the availability of basic medicines, and medical equipment; and boosting governmental spending on health to 5% of GDP , the report said. On Comprehensive Health Insuranceو Egypt has made remarkable strides by promulgating the comprehensive Health Insurance Law (Law 2/2018) which covers mandatory insurance of all citizens residing in the country, with the option of extending the same to cover Egyptian expats , it added. The law obligates the State to provide services of (public health, preventive services, first aid and ambulance services, family planning and other health services necessary to cover all kinds of disasters and epidemics for free as well as occupational injuries). The law shall be gradually applied to all governorates to ensure fiscal sustainability and actuarial balance. The State shall, by virtue of the law, boost the efficiency of state-owned health facilities gradually before rolling out the system. The philosophy of the new comprehensive Health Insurance system resides in the principle of mandatory coverage and social solidarity whereby the state covers the costs for the less-privileged. The system is based on the separation of finance from service provision. The General Authority for comprehensive Health Insurance is in charge of the system management and finance, whereas the Authority of Health Care provides health and curative care services within and without hospitals. The comprehensive Health Insurance Law shall be applied on 6 phases until 2023. The first phase covers (Port Said, Suez, South Sinai, Ismailia, Luxor and Aswan) with the cost of EGP1.8 billion. This is the current phase launched by HE President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi on November 26th, 2019 in Port Said Governorate as a step to lay the foundations for integrated health system covering 100% of Egyptians as per the latest international criteria. The number of beneficiaries of the first phase until March 17th, 2020 reached 2,700,000 , the report noted. On Public Spending on Health, the State budget for the fiscal year 2019/2020 shows that health expenditures total EGP 73,062 billion with an increase of EGP 11 billion compared to the last fiscal year. The report said that health spending covers hospitals and outpatient clinics, specialized hospital services, medical centres services, maternity centres, public health services, research and development in health affairs, public hospitals, university hospitals, the General Authority for Hospitals and Educational Institutes, the Pharmaceutical Control and Research Authority, the Ophthalmology Research Institute and the National Council for Addiction Control. As for treatment at the state expense, the public spending on treating less-privileged citizens at the expense of the state reached EGP 6,622 million compared to EGP5,637 million as per the balance sheet of last year with an increase of EGP985 million. The foregoing figures show that the State has doubled its expenses compared to five years ago. On Allocations for purchasing medicine and medical equipment: The allocations made during fiscal year 2019/2020 reached EGP 9,113 million, representing 12% of the budget for the purchase of goods and services , the report mentioned. Regarding the subsidization of children medicine and milk: The allocations for these items amount to EGP 1,500 million. This subsidization is the amount of cost difference borne by the state resulting from the importation and sale of insulin, children’s milk and potassium iodides for prices less than the economic cost thereof. On Health Insurance Subsidy, an amount of EGP 2,092,000,000isearmarked for health insurance programmes for the various categories as per the financial statement of the state budget for the fiscal year 2019/2020. The subsidy amount shall be distributed over 6 programmes as follows: Health insurance subsidy for students in the amount of EGP 351,000,000 allocated in the budget for 23,400,000 students, in the annual amount of EGP15 per student. Health insurance subsidy for single mothers in the amount of EGP 166,000,000 for 830,000 single mothers, in the amount of EGP 200 per single mother. Health insurance subsidy for children below school age in the amount of EGP 227,000,000 covering 15,170,000 children, in the amount of EGP 15 annually per child. Health insurance subsidy for less-privileged citizens (comprehensive Health Insurance system) in the amount of EGP 252,000,000. Health insurance subsidy for less-privileged beneficiaries of social insurance pension in the amount of one billion Egyptian pounds. Health insurance subsidy for farmers in the amount of EGP 100,000,000 covering 500,000 individuals in the amount of EGP 200 annually per capita. On National Health Indicators, the report mentioned the state efforts as follows: The number of state-owned hospitals increased from 643 in 2011 to 691 in 2018. Meanwhile the number of private hospitals increased from 926 in 2011 to 1157 in 2018. This increase is nationwide to ensure access by all citizens to health care. The number of insured citizens increased from 50,194,000 in 2014 to 55,581,000 in 2018. The number of patients treated at the state expense: The number of patients treated at the state expense domestically and abroad increased to 2,632,000 in 2018 with a cost of EGP 8.4 billion. Certain measures are taken to ensure speedy curative service provision at the state expense thus shrinking the period lapsing between application and decision issuance to 48 hours in cases of emergency and 72 hours for other cases. Number of ambulances: The number of ambulances increased in 2018 to 2912 and the number of emergency centers increased to 1464. The number of university hospitals increased by 2.3% in 2018 compared to 2017 by 89 hospitals. Physicians numbers increased in 2018 to become 126,197, whereas the number of nurses reached 217,105. Blood transfusion services are developed to reach 24 centres in all governorates. The foregoing assets and resources are deployed nationwide to ensure inclusive service provision covering, inter alia, rural and urban areas, males and females, and low-income brackets. Mandatory routine vaccination: 2.6 million children receive mandatory routine vaccines annually with coverage exceeding 96%. Egypt managed to eradicate certain diseases as the WHO announced Egypt’s success in completely eradicating polio as no new cases have been detected since 2003. 40 million vaccinations are administered annually against polio, rubella and mumps. A program was developed to support natural breast feeding during the first six months to ensure safe nutrition for infants. A mandatory test is run for would-be spouses to ensure the absence of any diseases. Would-be spouse test offices totaled 481 nationwide in 2018. Reduction in under-5 mortality rate: Intensive governmental efforts led to a decrease in child mortality rate under age 5 from 42.1 thousand in 2015 to 36.7 thousand in 2018. The number of under 5 mortalities decreased from 20.3 thousand in 2015 to 20 thousand in 2018. Universal mortality rate fell from 8.6% in 2006 to 3.2% in 2018. Health education: Within the context of health awareness and education, outreach initiatives are developed to educate people on pregnancy and follow-up with specialized doctors. Eventually, the number of births supervised by skilled specialists increased from 80.7% in 2007 to 92.7% in 2011. A health education campaign was launched targeting medical cadres, local leaders, and the populace especially in areas with high rates of endemic diseases. The civil society is active in the area of health outreach. The number of notarized NGOs in 2019 reached 211 in Greater Cairo. The National Campaign for the Eradication of Hepatitis C Virus and Early Detection of Non-Communicable Diseases: In September 2018 President Al-Sisi launched an initiative to eradicate Hepatitis C and early detection of non-communicable diseases under the slogan “100 million health”. Under this initiative all state sectors, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Population, should provide full support to that initiative for the early detection of Hepatitis C and non-communicable diseases. The initiative was administered on three successive phases for 7 months starting October 1st, 2018 until end of April 2019 nationwide in all twenty seven governorates. 56 million citizens were tested in the context of that initiative, detecting 2,200,000 positive cases. Hepatitis C treatment was disbursed to 900,000 citizens. The total cost of the 100 million health initiative reached USD 260,000,000, 130,000,000 treatments and 130,000,000 tests. The WHO, and its representative in Egypt, has repeatedly commended the efforts of the Egyptian state in addressing Hepatitis C thanks to political commitment at the highest level in the state to control the disease. The WHO also stressed that it will continue to provide the support necessary to reach the desired goals. Screening and Treating Refugees and Foreigners “Egypt’s Guests”: Egypt launched a new phase officially on May 1st, 2019 until September 30th, 2019 in the context of the 100 Million Health Initiative (however the same was actually extended until August 31st, 2019). The new phase screens and treats foreigners and refugees from Hepatitis C. This presidential initiative targets screening children arrivals under 12 years until 18 years and adults over 18 years old. Screening is administered in 309 screening points nationwide. 67,498 refugees and foreign residents were examined and positive cases were treated gratuitously. The first refugee who tested positive for hepatitis C received free treatment one week after test commencement. Almost 182 positive cases received free treatment after the first incident. In this context, the UN High Commission for Refugees and the WHO commended the new phase of the 100 Million Health Initiative covering all foreign residents in Egypt, which speaks to the leading role of Egypt in serving humanity. Egyptian Women are the Health of Egypt Initiative for early detection of breast cancer: 115,000 women were tested until July 2019. The initiative targets 30 million women. 100 Million Health Initiative for early detection of anemia, stunting, obesity and malnutrition of school students which targets 11.5 million students in 22,000 schools. Control of Harmful Traditional Practices (including FGM): The National Committee Against FGM is established in 2019 and is co-headed by the National Council for Women and the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood to synergize efforts to eradicate FGM. The State has, in collaboration with the civil society, launched several initiatives including the initiatives of “White Coat” and “Let’s Protect Her” to educate on the gravity of FGM and its health adverse effects. Law 78/2016 was enacted to amend the Penal Code whereby FGM is considered felony and even attempted FGM is punishable, and no reconciliation or settlement may be reached in this case in particular. In case the FGM process is completed and causes the death or permanent disability of the victim penalty shall be aggravated. The National Strategy Against FGM (2016-2020) aims to decrease FGM rates by enforcing relevant laws and ministerial decisions to prevent the same and punish practitioners. The strategy also aims to enforce relevant legislation and educate society on the risks involved in FGM and that it is religiously groundless, in addition to tightening control and aggravating penalty for doctors who engage in FGM. Control of Drugs, Psychotropics, smoking and harmful material: A Fund is established for the treatment and control of addiction and drug-use pursuant to thePresidential Decision 46/1991. The Fund made several initiatives for education on risks of substance abuseand the social integration of cured cases such as “Life is Rosier without Smoking” to educate children on the adverse effects of smoking and “Don’t Try” Initiative to educate summer vacationists and beach-goers in coastal governorates on the gravity of addiction; as well as “Egypt free of addiction” Initiative to help addicts get rid of substance abuse impacts as well as “Listen to Me” Initiative raising awareness about the harmful effects of smoking and substance-use and to rectify misconceptions about substance abuse. In this context awareness raising programmes are developed on the dangers of substance abuse in 8500 schools targeting 1.5 million students with a 50% increase compared to last year. 66 training camps are provided for students targeting 2500 volunteers. Outreach is developed for factory workers under the slogan “Make no Mistake” targeting 7500 workers. Moreover, 200 awareness initiatives are organized for drivers under the slogan “Have a safe trip” in 22 governorates for 20,000 drivers, whereby it becomes obligatory for drivers to take the drug tests as a sine-quo-none for license issuance and renewal. 34 workshops are held at corrective institutions and 60 preventive theatre shows are presented in most vulnerable locations such as “Al-Asmarat, GheitelEnab, and Al-Mahrousa” and in main squares and arenas. The Friday mass service speech is standardized in coordination with the Ministry of Awqaf to educate people on the dangers of drugs in addition to the information campaign “You are stronger than drugs” which reached 40,000,000 views in two months.
A number of Egyptian businessmen have submitted to the finance ministry several proposals on how to lessen the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. Maait said in a statement on Monday that the proposals are under consideration, adding that some of these proposals would require legislative amendments, and so the ministry will submit them to the Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. The proposals were made during a video conference between Maait and a number of Egyptian businessmen, including the chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Industries and the head of the Egyptian Businessmen s Association. The proposals include postponing tax return submissions for enterprises by two months and suspending real estate taxes for factories, Maait said, adding that the ministry has already prepared a number of amendments to the real estate tax law, which are now being discussed in parliament. Maait also exempted export companies from providing the tax position certificate required for the disbursal of their dues from government bodies and the Export Development Fund until June, and exporters dues will be disbursed over three tranches of up to EGP 5 million.
Egyptians have spent less time in shopping, recreation and transportation in March 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak, adopting social distancing guidelines, according to Google’s COVID-19 Mobility Changes report. Google released late March its special coronavirus report showing how people around the globe responded to the coronavirus outbreak based on statistics from Google Maps around the globe. According to figures released by Google, Egyptians spent 50 percent less time in places like malls and restaurants in March than in February. Egyptians spent also 52 percent less time in transit stations like metro stations, bus stations and train stations in March than in February. In mid-March, the Egyptian government imposed a partial curfew from 7pm to 6am. It also closed public parks and museums as well as other recreational sites where the public gathered. Egyptians spent 35 percent less time in their work in March compared to February, while they spent 25 percent less time in groceries in March than in February. They also spent 40 percent less time in parks in March than in February. Google stated that Egyptians spent 15 percent more time in their homes in March than in February. According to the latest numbers released by the Egypt’s Ministry of Health, total coronavirus cases in the country has reached 1,070, including 71 dead.
The number of coronavirus cases in Egypt has increased to 850 on Thursday; however, the daily increase rate is “not alarming,” Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised statement. Compared to the Egyptian population of 100 million people, the number of cases is not high, and Egypt is still in the middle phase of the outbreak and has not reached the dangerous, third phase, Madbouly said. The average daily infection rate was between 30 and 40 cases last week, and this week it has been between 50 and 60, the prime minister said. It is expected that it will range from 60 to 70 cases a day next week. According to the prime minister, these rates are not alarming as Egypt is still seeing a natural gradual curve in the spread of the virus. “What [would be] alarming [would be] the registration of hundreds of cases daily. We do not want to reach this stage,” Madbouly said. The prime minister urged people not to underestimate the situation and to commit to the precautionary measures in place. Madbouly also said that the capabilities of the health ministry exceeds the requirements of the current number of cases. The health ministry has been coordinating its efforts with university hospitals and making a plan to start integrating some of them to help in the fight against the coronavirus. The aim of the government, according to Madbouly, is to have a comprehensive health system that encompasses all governorates and provides needed medical services to Egyptian citizens. The government is looking into providing workplaces like factories and construction sites, among others, with up to 1,000 vehicles that can function as clinics, in an initiative from Health Minister Hala Zayed, the prime minister said. Mobile clinics can provide workers with necessary medical services and help in taking the necessary rapid measures if any coronavirus cases are detected. Madbouly also addressed the efforts exerted by the state to repatriate Egyptians stranded abroad by flight suspensions. The premier said that there the government will temporarily stop returning citizens from abroad after already expatriating those who were stranded. “A stranded person is someone who had to leave Egypt either for a work mission, training course, for medical treatment or for tourism,” the prime minister said. “These are the kinds of people who are considered stuck, as they don t have residence in the country they are in and they have to return to Egypt,” he added. Madbouly said that, at first, the government performed medical check-ups and tests on returnees at airports and asked them to self-isolate for 14 days. The government discovered, however, that many people have not been committing to self-isolation, and that led to an outbreak in some areas. Since people were not committed, the government has decided to put returnees from abroad in compulsory quarantine in hotels at state expense.
In the time of fear of the Corona virus and with the suffering economic and health sectors, we need to take heed and commit to all precautionary measures, but we need also to spread hope along with awareness even if we are fed up with the curfew and social distancing. We do expect and hope that the vaccine and medicine will be discovered in order to restore our lives back. Yet, this may take longer than we think or