Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Egypt extends nationwide nightly curfew April 23 until further notice and eases COVID-19 restrictions on some businesses for Ramadan.

This alert affects Egypt

This alert began 23 Apr 2020 17:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 25 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 24
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions, heightened security

Summary
Egyptian authorities amended the nationwide nightly curfew hours and eased restrictions on some businesses for the month of Ramadan, which begins April 23-24 depending on the first sighting of the lunar crescent. The new curfew hours of 2100-0600 supersede the previous curfew hours of 2000-0600 and will remain in effect until further notice. Individuals who violate the decree will be penalized under the emergency laws and will face up to EGP 4,000 (USD 253) in fines. Stores and shopping malls will be allowed to reopen on weekends until 1700. Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has stated that the economy will gradually reopen after the month of Ramadan, which will end May 23-24.

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

  • Suspension of air traffic for all of the nation's airports through April 23; it is likely that the measure will be extended.
  • Suspension of all modes of private and public transport during curfew hours.
  • Closure of most government institutions, except those working in security, healthcare, and other critical fields.
  • Disinfection of all hotels and tourist spots.
  • Nationwide closure of all nonessential businesses, except grocery stores and pharmacies; restaurants are restricted to delivery services only.
  • A ban on all large social gatherings, including sporting events and concerts, until further notice; the ban includes the closure of mosques and churches.
  • Closure of schools and universities nationwide through the end of April.


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 correspond with similar 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.

Advice
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.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int