Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Coronavirus: Egypt lifts lockdown and reopens cafes, mosques and churches and now with details
Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Egypt on Tuesday significantly relaxed regulations designed to check the spread of the coronavirus, cancelling the overnight lockdown, reopening mosques and churches and allowing patrons back at restaurants and cafes – but with limited capacity.
Cinemas and theatres will also reopen, but beaches and public parks will remain shut.
Mosques and churches will not be allowed to hold congregational rituals like the Muslim Friday prayers or the Christian liturgy.
Only weekday prayers would be allowed in both, provided that social distancing rules are observed, said the government.
Restaurants, cafes, cinemas and theatres would be allowed to operate at 25 per cent capacity, while stores would remain open until 9 pm.
The latest orders reflect the government’s pandemic strategy of gradually reopening the country to avoid an economic meltdown while seeking to protect the population.
Until a vaccine is developed, authorities want Egyptians to learn to live with the coronavirus while taking precautions like social distancing, diligent hygiene practices and wearing masks in public.
Despite Tuesday’s announcement, the daily number of new Covid-19 cases continues to hover well above 1,000, a worrying trend that officials say would only last until the end of June before the curve begins to level off and later flattened by mid-July.
The Health Ministry says a total of 56,809 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded to date as well as 2,278 fatalities.
However, the number of actual cases is thought to be much higher because thousands of Egyptians have contracted mild cases of the disease and are treated at home without a test.
Many also contract the disease but don’t receive treatment through the state health sector. Others contract the disease but don’t realise that they have it. Critics also say that not enough testing was being carried out.
The government says it has dealt with the pandemic professionally and transparently.
Like Egypt, Iran is still trying to get a grip on the virus. It reported 121 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, its highest daily toll in over two months.
Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told a news conference that the new fatalities brought the overall virus death toll to 9,863.
That is Iran's highest single-day fatality rate since April 11, when 125 deaths were recorded.
Iran recorded a drop in its daily fatalities in early May, but there has been a rise in recent weeks.
There has been scepticism at home and abroad about the country's official Covid-19 figures, with concerns the actual toll could be much higher.
Iran has not imposed a mandatory lockdown on people to stop the virus's spread, but it closed schools, cancelled public events and banned movement between the country's 31 provinces in March.
The government progressively lifted restrictions from April in order to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.
Gallery: Coronavirus around the Middle East
Updated: June 23, 2020 08:19 PM
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