Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Egypt expands curfew hours, suspends public transport, and closes all nonessential businesses for Eid Al-Fitr May 24-28 due to COVID-19.

This alert affects Egypt

This alert began 18 May 2020 19:36 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 28
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions, heightened security

Authorities in Egypt have announced that they will implement a series of preventative measures for Eid Al-Fitr (the Feast of Breaking the Ramadan Fast), which is slated to begin May 24 in the country. The measures, which will be in place through May 28, are to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Eid Al-Fitr is only three days long; however, authorities have extended the annual holiday to five days this year due to COVID-19. The existing nationwide nightly curfew hours of 2100-0600 will be superseded by curfew hours of 1700-0600 on May 24. Authorities will also suspend all modes of public transport and close all nonessential businesses, including all shops, malls, beaches, and parks.

Authorities eased certain restrictions related to COVID-19 May 15. Resorts and hotels on the Red Sea can reopen for domestic tourism, provided they do not exceed 25 percent of their occupancy capacity. All hotels are required to obtain a safety certificate from the ministries of health and tourism before they may resume operations.

Authorities implemented amended curfew hours of 2100-0600 and eased restrictions on some businesses for the month of Ramadan, which started April 24 and will be in effect until May 24. Individuals who violate the decree may be penalized under emergency laws and face fines of up to EGP 4,000 (USD 253). Stores and shopping malls will be allowed to reopen on weekends until 1700 until May 24.

The Egyptian government previously announced a series of preventive restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions include:

  • Air traffic for all of the nation's airports is suspended until further notice; the measure does not apply to emergency and cargo flights.
  • All modes of private and public transport are suspended during curfew hours.
  • Most government institutions are closed, except those working in security, healthcare, and other critical fields.
  • All hotels and tourist spots must be disinfected.
  • All nonessential businesses, except grocery stores and pharmacies, are closed nationwide; restaurants are restricted to delivery services only.
  • All large social gatherings, including sporting events and concerts, are banned until further notice; the ban includes the closure of mosques and churches.
  • Schools and universities are closed nationwide until further notice.

Further travel restrictions and other preventative measures are possible, depending on the evolution of the disease activity in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
Egypt's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all business appointments and travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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