Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities in Egypt plan to ease a series of COVID-19-related restrictions beginning July 26; other restrictions to remain in place.
- Alert Begins: 23 Jul 2020 02:39 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 31 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Business and transport disruptions, heightened security
Officials in Egypt have announced that they will ease some coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions beginning July 26. Authorities have extended restaurants and cafes' business hours to 2359 and have allowed them to operate at 50 percent capacity. Shopping malls and shops, however, will still be required to close at 2200 daily. Movie theaters will continue to operate at 25 percent capacity until further notice.
Authorities lifted the nightly 2100-0600 nationwide curfew, June 27. Other restrictions that have eased include:
- Travelers to Egypt will no longer undergo testing upon arrival; instead, they will be subject to temperature checks. All residents arriving in Egypt will need to self-isolate at home for 14 days.
- Reopening of all airports throughout the country from July 1. Tourists do not need to self-isolate upon arrival; however, they can only visit resorts in Matrouh, Red Sea, and South Sinai coastal governorates. Authorities have reportedly instituted a series of measures to ensure social distancing at the country's airports. All passengers must also wear masks on airplanes. Officials previously announced plans to reopen seaside resorts to international flights and foreign tourists from July 1.
- On May 15, authorities reopened resorts and hotels on the Red Sea for domestic tourism, provided they do not exceed 50 percent of their occupancy capacity. All hotels must obtain a safety certificate from the ministries of health and tourism before they resume operations.
- Reopening of places of worship; however, mosques will remain closed for weekly Friday prayers and churches for Sunday masses.
- Reopening of restaurants, cafes, and sporting clubs. Restaurants and cafes can only remain open until 2200, while stores and shops will be required to close at 2100 daily.
- Movie theaters will be allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity.
- Resumption of public modes of transport 0400-2359.
Authorities had made wearing masks in public mandatory until further notice.
COVID-19 restrictions that remain in place include:
- A ban on all large social gatherings, such as sporting events and concerts, until further notice, and includes the closure of mosques and churches.
- Schools and universities are closed nationwide until further notice.
- Public parks and beaches remain closed 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.