Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Egypt extend nightly curfew and suspend air traffic at all airports through April 23 to combat COVID-19.

This alert affects Egypt

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 17:25 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through the end of April
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions, heightened security

Summary
Egyptian authorities have extended the nationwide nightly curfew and amended the curfew hours as part of the country's efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The new curfew hours of 2000-0600 supplant the previous curfew hours of 1900-0600 and will remain in effect until April 23. Individuals who violate the decree will be penalized under the emergency laws and face up to EGP 4,000 (USD 253) in fines. Authorities also extended the suspension of air traffic for all of the nation's airports through April 23.

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

  • Authorities in Giza Governorate imposed a 14-day quarantine on the town of Al-Moatamadeyah from April 7. Al-Moatamadeyah is a town located on the western outskirts of Cairo. Authorities in Giza Governorate stated that they would work to provide residents of Al-Moatamadeyah with necessities such as medicine, baby formula, and ambulances;
  • Suspension of all modes of private and public transport during curfew hours;
  • Government institutions will be closed through mid-April, except those working in security, healthcare, and other critical fields;
  • Disinfection of all hotels and tourist spots;
  • Nationwide closure of all nonessential businesses from 1700 daily; restaurants are restricted to delivery services only. The closure order does not apply to pharmacies or grocery stores;
  • 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