Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 November 2020

Egypt shuts schools, universities for two weeks as coronavirus cases increase

The suspension of classes follows measures including the cancellation of large public gatherings

Tourists wearing protective health masks wait outside al-Hussein mosque in the Islamic Cairo district of the Egyptian capital AFP
Tourists wearing protective health masks wait outside al-Hussein mosque in the Islamic Cairo district of the Egyptian capital AFP

Egypt said it will close schools and universities for two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases rises, reaching 110 on Saturday with two deaths.

The suspension of classes from Sunday follows previously announced measures including the cancellation of large public gatherings, restrictions on the time allocated for group prayers and the halting of local football league matches for two weeks.

“Because we found that the numbers have started rising as of late, we decided to take such precautionary measures from this point in time [to prevent] the rapid spread that happened in other countries that delayed these kinds of decisions,” Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told a news conference as he announced the temporary closure of schools and universities.

Egypt has also taken measures aimed at reassuring tourists that it is safe to visit the country after passengers contracted the coronavirus on a Nile river cruise ship.

Hundreds of tourists and tourism workers have been tested for the virus, and hotel facilities and cruise ships in Luxor and Aswan have been sanitised.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also called for a 100 billion Egyptian pound (Dh23.38bn) fund to finance a “comprehensive” state plan for tackling the outbreak, a statement by the presidency said.

Egypt’s health ministry said late on Saturday that the country had registered 17 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 110.

Updated: March 15, 2020 03:18 PM

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