Egypt closes malls, restaurants over COVID-19 concerns

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A security guard at Cairo University wears a protective mask following the suspension of study for only undergraduate students amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Cairo, Egypt March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Shokry Hussien
A security guard at Cairo University wears a protective mask following the suspension of study for only undergraduate students amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Cairo, Egypt March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Shokry Hussien

Egypt will shut down malls, restaurants and coffee shops from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily until March 31 to combat the spread of novel coronavirus.

“All restaurants, coffee shops, commercial centers, night clubs, casinos and similar entertainment institutions, as well as the movable food trucks, will be closed from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time,” the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement on Thursday.

The measure will be applied from March 19 to 31.

Food stores, pharmacies, groceries and bakeries will not be affected. Also, food delivery services will work as normal, the statement added.

The new decision is part of the country’s efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus after the number of confirmed cases climbed to 210 with six deaths.

Egypt has taken a series of measures including closing schools, suspending flights, and sterilizing means of transportation, government departments, hotels and tourist attractions.

On Tuesday, the country halted exporting face masks and all types of alcohol and alcoholic disinfectants “to meet the needs of Egyptian citizens,” according to the Trade and Industry Ministry.

On Wednesday, Egypt started sterilizing hotels and places frequented by foreign tourists in the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada as the first stage of sterilizing all hotels and resorts across the country.

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