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Egypt to reopen cafes, places of worship, shisha ban stays

By AFP - Jun 23,2020 - Last updated at Jun 23,2020

CAIRO — Egypt will partially reopen cafes, restaurants, places of worship, cinemas and sporting clubs on Saturday, relaxing a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli announced.

A night-time curfew was imposed in late March restricting movement from 8pm to 6am, but it has been eased in recent weeks.

The curfew will run from midnight to 4am, Mabouli said in a televised address on Tuesday, announcing a slew of decisions taking effect on 27 June.

“We have the ability to move past this pandemic with the best results at hand and the minimum number of losses,” he said.

The prime minister said cafes and restaurants will restart operations at a reduced capacity of 25 per cent in the first phase of relaxing the lockdown.

They will be allowed to remain open to customers until 10pm, while shops can operate until 9 at night.

Madbouli warned that shisha (water-pipe) smoking, a popular social activity among Egyptians, is still banned to prevent the spread of the disease.

He also said daily services in mosques and churches in the deeply religious country will resume, but weekend services, which attract large congregations, remain suspended.

Cinemas, cultural centres and sports clubs will reopen at 25 per cent capacity to ensure social distancing, while public transport running times are to be extended.

Beaches and public parks remain out of bounds.

“We all have to live with the pandemic... We have been trying to balance between opening up the country and maintaining the necessary health measures,” Madbouli said.

The North African country, with a population of over 100 million, has officially recorded over 56,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 2,000 deaths.

 

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