Egyptian high-school exams kick off as COVID-19 fight continues

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High school students wearing protective masks wait in line during the first day of final exams, amid concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, in Cairo, Egypt June 21, 2020. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

High school students in Egypt started their final exams on Sunday as the country continues its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of thousands of candidates are registered to take the exams which are being done under the guidance of health officials.

The government has placed some 2,500 ambulances on standby and also provided a doctor for each school. Students that exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to postpone their exams of take them in isolation.

Egypt is one of Africa’s worst affected country by the COVID-19 pandemic. The North African country has reported 53,758 infections and 2,106 deaths, according to data from the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The fatality number is the highest in the continent.

Nearly 670,000 pupils from state and private schools, and 128,000 from religious schools, were due to sit the exams.

Authorities have been gradually easing restrictions on movement, though schools and universities have remained shut since March.

Authorities said they had taken necessary precautions and the education ministry also said it had offered students an option to postpone their exams without any penalty.

Continentally, the number of COVID-19 infections surpassed the 300,000 mark as African countries shift their focus on safely reopening their economies after weeks-long shutdowns.

South Africa remains the worst affected country by the pandemic in the continent, having registered 92,681 infections and 1,877 deaths.

The country accounts for 30.8% of Africa’s total cases.

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