Egypt suspends classes, gatherings, sports activities as coronavirus cases rise to 109

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 15, 2020
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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi decided on Saturday to suspend school and university classes as well as all sports activities for two weeks after confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country hit 109.

The suspension would start from Sunday, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a press statement.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Rady said, President Sisi also allocated 100 billion Egyptian pounds (6.36 billion U.S. dollars) to finance the anti-COVID-19 plan.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Sisi, the Egyptian prime minister noted the decision to suspend classes came as a precautionary and preventive measure to reduce gatherings in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"After the emergence of some cases at schools, the government has to switch to the second stage, which is the decision to close schools for two weeks," Madbouly said.

He pointed out that the allocated 100 billion pounds will be used to face any repercussions that will occur in Egypt as a result of the emerging coronavirus, including the expected economic damage.

For his part, Egyptian Minister of Education Tariq Shawky said during a press conference that the number of students infected with the novel coronavirus does not exceed seven out of the 109 confirmed cases.

The minister highlighted the need for students to avoid crowded places, "otherwise there is no point for the measures that are taken."

Meanwhile, Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdul-Ghaffar said the suspension of universities is meant to prevent large gatherings to prevent coronavirus, adding all university buildings and facilities will be sterilized.

In addition, the Ministry of Youth and Sports announced the suspension of all sports and youth activities in all governorates for two weeks starting Sunday.

The ministry also decided to coordinate with the Egyptian Olympic Committee and sports federations with regard to the training of national teams for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

In the meantime, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) decided to suspend all activities for 15 days as of Monday to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement, the EAF said the decision applies to all divisions and local competitions.

According to the health ministry, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Egypt has hit 109, with two death cases.

Since the emergence of the coronavirus, Egypt has adopted an integrated plan which covers early detection, quarantine and treatment measures, as well as raising public awareness. 

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