Egypt extends curfew as infections rise

By: AFP      Published: 08:16 PM, 11 Jun, 2020
Egypt extends curfew as infections rise

Egypt will extend a night-time curfew by a further two weeks in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Information Minister Osama Heikal said Thursday, as infections rise.

Heikal told a news conference the measure would be enforced from 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) to 4:00 am, from Sunday June 14 until the end of the month.

Working hours for shops will be until 6:00 pm, instead of 5:00 pm, he said.

"Tourism and flights to coastal cities with the lowest infection levels will be restarted from July," the minister added.

It is not clear when flights to the capital, Cairo, will resume. 

Heikal also said the government will look into reopening places of worship in cities with low infections starting next month.

Since March, authorities have halted air traffic, shuttered schools and closed tourist and religious sites to slow the spread of the virus among Egypt's 100 million people. 

The health ministry has so far recorded 1,342 deaths out of 38,284 confirmed cases. 

Since late last month, it has been reporting more than 1,000 new cases a day. 

The government has been seeking to gradually loosen lockdown measures, allowing hotels to partially reopen and resuming some public services it had suspended. 

Last month, Egypt's doctors union warned that a major COVID-19 oubreak could trigger a "complete collapse" of the country's health system.