Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Egypt make wearing facemasks in public mandatory from May 30 for a period of 15 days to combat COVID-19.

This alert affects Egypt

This alert began 26 May 2020 03:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through June 14
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions, heightened security

Summary
Authorities in Egypt have announced that wearing facemasks in public will be mandatory starting May 30 for at least 15 days, as part of their efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Individuals who fail to abide by the decree will face a fine of up to EGP 4,000 (USD 253). The measure comes amid the country's efforts to ease restrictions related to COVID-19; Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly has said that the country will simultaneously implement preventative measures and reopen businesses.

Authorities have also implemented a series of preventative measures during Eid Al-Fitr (the Feast of Breaking the Ramadan Fast), to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A daily 1700-0600 curfew will be in place through May 29. All modes of public transport and closed all nonessential businesses, including all shops, malls, beaches, and parks remain suspended until May 29. Officials will re-impose nationwide nightly curfew hours of 2000-0600 from May 30.

Starting May 15, officials also began easing certain restrictions related to COVID-19. Resorts and hotels on the Red Sea are allowed to 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.

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

  • Air traffic for all of the nation's airports remain suspended until further notice; the measure does not apply to emergency and cargo flights.
  • All modes of private and public transport remain 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 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.

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.


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