Egypt will impose a two-week, nightly curfew in the Arab world’s most-populous country in an effort to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, its prime minister announced Tuesday as the International Monetary Fund warned that a shortage of medical supplies could affect the Mideast’s poorest nations.
There are over 31,000 confirmed cases of the virus across the Mideast, the vast majority in the hard-hit nation of Iran. While most recover from the virus and the COVID-19 illness that it causes, bottoming crude oil prices have put additional strain on even the wealthiest countries of the region. That, in turn, could affect their ability to spend on needed supplies as the virus challenges medical systems worldwide.
Already, countries have reacted by either urging or ordering hundreds of millions of people to stay home. Egypt, home to over 100 million alone, became the latest on Tuesday.
Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly told a news conference that the 11-hour curfew, from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. would go into effect Wednesday across the country. He said many kinds of transportation will be halted during the curfew.
Egypt has 366 confirmed cases and 21 fatalities, including two senior military officers.
Madbouly also announced the closure of schools and universities for another two weeks until April 12. He said shops and malls will be closed Fridays and Saturdays, the weekend in Egypt, and are allowed to work five days a week from 7 a.m. till 5 p.m. He said groceries, bakeries and pharmacies would be excluded from the closure order.
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