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Egypt’s president vows support for Sudan’s stability

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Friday vowed support for progress and stability of Sudan, the presidency office said in a statement.

Bassam Radi, spokesperson of the presidency, said that the remarks came in a phone call with Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The talks have tackled several regional issues and means of promoting the bilateral ties and visions on cooperation in different fields, Radi added.

The Egyptian-Sudanese relations have been tense over the past few years on various issues, including their differences over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which Ethiopia is building on the Nile River.

While both Ethiopia and Sudan hope to reap massive benefits from the GERD construction, Egypt is worried that it would undermine its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the Nile River water.

(XINHUA)

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Egypt records 1,399 COVID-19 cases, 26,384 in total

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Egypt reported on Monday 1,399 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number in the country to 26,384.

Egyptian Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement that 46 new deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll in the country to 1,005.

According to Megahed, 410 patients have been discharged from hospitals after fully cured, taking the recoveries in the country to 6,297.

Earlier in the day, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said his country is expected to witness a surge in the number of coronavirus patients in the next two weeks, according to official Ahram Online new website.

On Sunday, Egyptian government announced reducing the curfew time from 10 hours to nine hours.

The government has already started gradual reopening of services and offices suspended since mid-March amid a “coexistence plan” to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.

It has also allowed reopening of dozens of hotels for local tourists after they have been inspected and given “hygiene safety” certificates from a government special committee.

Egypt and China have been cooperating closely in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, through mutual provision of medical aid and sharing experiences in containing the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

In early February, Egypt was among the first nations to provide aid to China in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

China, after having largely controlled the pandemic, returned favor by sending three batches of medical aid to Egypt.

On April 16, May 10 and May 16, Chinese doctors held video conferences with Egyptian counterparts to share their experiences in prevention and treatment of the virus.

(XINHUA)

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Egyptian hotels start to operate at 50 percent capacity

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Egyptian hotels, which has reopened for local tourists last month, started on Monday to offer restaurant and day-use services at 50 percent capacity, the country’s Antiquities and Tourism Ministry reported in a statement.

“The move aims to boost domestic tourism amid worldwide lockdowns that have affected the industry of hospitality, one of Egypt’s main sources of hard currency,” said assistant to the minister of tourism and antiquities Abdel-Fattah El-Assi in a statement.

Hotels were reopened to accommodate guests at a 25 percent capacity in May.

The occupancy rates in May reached 8 percent in South Sinai province, 13 percent in Red Sea province, 25 percent in Ain Sokhna city and Suez province, 25 percent in Alexandria, 4 percent in the north coast cities and 9 percent in the capital Cairo, according to the statement.

Over the past two weeks 78 hotels in eight governorates have received the “Hygiene Safety” certificate required for reopening after fulfilling the regulations announced by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and approved by the cabinet in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO), El-Assi said.

He added that 94 more hotels have applied for the safety certificate.

According to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, as of mid-June, the government will announce a gradual resumption of several activities, including sporting clubs and youth centers, as well as worship places while following precautionary measures against the virus.

The government will also consider the possibility of a gradual return of in-house dining at restaurants and aviation resumption with strict measures later in June.

Egypt has until Sunday recorded 24,985 positive cases.

Hotel services, including restaurants, night clubs and pools, have been closed to the public since March to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Egypt’s airspace has also been closed to international commercial flights since March 19.

(XINHUA)

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Feature: Egyptians abide by gov’t order to wear masks in public places to curb coronavirus spread

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Mohammed Abdel-Latif carefully put on his surgical mask before he left his workplace in the capital Cairo.

The 65-year-old man said he had to wear a mask outdoors after the government made it obligatory in public places since Saturday to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“I used to wear a mask even before the government made this decision,” Abdel-Latif, who works for a clothes company in downtown Cairo, told Xinhua.

The Egyptian government announced earlier in May that wearing masks is compulsory at governmental and private institutions, malls, markets, shops and public transportations.

The cabinet later announced that citizens are obliged to wear masks in public places for two weeks starting from May 30, adding that those who are found without a mask in public will face a fine of up to 4,000 Egyptian pounds (252 United States dollars).

Egypt announced its first confirmed COVID-19 infection on Feb. 14 and the first death from the pandemic on March 8, both of whom were foreigners.

Until Sunday night, Egypt’s total confirmed cases have reached 24,985, including 959 deaths and 6,037 recoveries.

The north African country has been implementing a partial nighttime curfew for more than two months, with obligatory closure of malls and stores, restaurants and public transportation during curfew hours.

“It is necessary to the wear face masks now to stop the quick spread of the virus…the government’s decision is vital and I can tell that that people are cooperating and responding to the new procedure,” Abdel-Latif added as he sprayed his hands with alcohol after wearing the mask.

For Mostafa Atwa, an electrical engineer, the new decision is an important step towards fighting the coronavirus. However, he believes this move should have been done earlier.

“The company I work for has been providing me with face masks on a daily basis since the crisis started in February,” the young man told Xinhua as he waited for a train in Cairo’s main train station.

Atwa noted that it is important that everyone wears a mask because he did not feel safe before the government’s decision was implemented.

He added that obtaining face masks from pharmacies was not easy weeks ago as masks were scarce in the market.

“But masks of different types and prices are available almost at all pharmacies now,” he said. “The prices start from 2 pounds and may go up to 150 Egyptian pounds.”

Atwa stressed that the government has been doing a great work to control the prices of medical preventives supplies that have been largely used since the outbreak of the virus such as masks, alcohol, gloves and sanitizers.

In March, Egypt halted exporting face masks and all types of alcohol and alcoholic disinfectants to meet the needs of Egyptian citizens amid the spread of the virus.

As Egypt’s factories of disposable medical products have more than doubled their production of medical masks recently.

A Chinese-Egyptian joint venture has been established in April in Egypt, which can produce up to 750,000 medical face masks per day.

The venture, formed by Egypt’s Euromed for Medical Industries and China’s Ningbo A Plus Import and Export Co., Ltd, targets a daily production capacity of 1.5 million high quality surgical face masks soon.

The Egypt-China venture is expected to more than double Egypt’s production capacity of disposable face masks.

(XINHUA)

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Egypt sees daily record of 1,536 COVID-19 infections, tally nears 25,000

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Egypt reported on Sunday a new record of 1,536 COVID-19 daily infections, raising the total number of cases registered in the country to 24,985, the Egyptian Health Ministry said.

It is the fourth consecutive day for Egypt’s COVID-19 daily infections to surpass 1,000.

Meanwhile, the most populous Arab country saw the highest-single day fatalities as 46 patients died from the novel coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 959, the ministry’s spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.

The country also witnessed a record of daily recoveries as 344 patients were cured and discharged from hospitals, increasing the total recoveries to 6,037, according to the statement.

“All the cases registered as positive for the virus receive medical care at isolation and quarantine hospitals in accordance with the guidelines of the World Health Organization,” Megahed reiterated.

Egypt announced its first confirmed COVID-19 infection on Feb. 14 and the first death from the pandemic on March 8.

Since March 25, the Egyptian government has been imposing a constantly renewed nighttime curfew, of which hours varied between nine and 13 based on the situation, to curb the spread of the virus.

Earlier on Sunday, the government announced reducing the curfew from 10 hours to nine hours, following a meeting led by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

The government has already started gradual reopening of services and offices suspended since mid-March amid a “coexistence plan” to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.

It has also allowed reopening of dozens of hotels for local tourists after they have been inspected and given “hygiene safety” certificates from a government special committee.

Egypt and China join hands in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through exchanging medical aid and expertise to curb the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

In early February, Egypt was among the first nations to provide aid to China in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

China, after having largely controlled the pandemic, returned favor by sending three batches of medical aid to Egypt, the latest of which was delivered in mid-May.

Since mid-April, Chinese doctors have held three video conferences with Egyptian counterparts to share their experiences in the prevention and treatment of the novel coronavirus.

(XINHUA)

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Feature: Online shopping flourishes in Egypt amid COVID-19 partial lockdown

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“I do most of my grocery shopping online or by phone since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus,” said an Egyptian housewife in the capital Cairo, expressing concern to go out shopping at markets and shops.

Randa Ibrahim, a mother of five, searched on the internet and asked neighbors and friends until she found online shopping platforms where she can buy foodstuff and other necessary items, amid a partial lockdown imposed in the most populous Arab country since mid-March to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“I did not expect we have that many online shopping platforms in Egypt. I will keep using online shopping even after the coronavirus crisis is over because it saves both time and effort,” the 45-year-old lady told Xinhua.

Ibrahim is one of many Egyptians who have become frequent visitors of online shopping websites via their smartphones or computers during the COVID-19 crisis that hit Egypt and the whole world.

Egypt announced its first confirmed COVID-19 infection on Feb. 14 and the first death from the pandemic on March 8, both of whom were foreigners.

Until Saturday night, Egypt’s total coronavirus confirmed cases have reached 23,449, including 913 deaths and 5,693 recoveries.

Since Egypt has been implementing a partial nighttime curfew for more than two months now, with obligatory closure of malls and stores during curfew hours, online shopping websites have flourished and attracted new visitors in the country.

Jumia, one of the most well-known online shopping platforms in Egypt, which claims to be the country’s “largest online mall store,” says that its sales have increased by 50 percent during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have made a lot of preparations to qualify Jumia to absorb the intense pressure on the website, relying on technology for online safety and protection to encourage customers to use electronic payment,” Hesham Safwat, CEO of Jumia Egypt, told Xinhua.

He pointed out that his platform established JumiaPay for online payment services, through which the customers can pay for the purchased items and pay the bills of electricity, gas, water, internet, landline and all other services.

“We offer special discounts for electronic payments through JumiaPay to promote non-cash transactions in order to support the government’s efforts for financial inclusion and reduce the risk of virus transmission through direct cash payment,” Safwat added.

Jumia observes the highest preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organization and the Egyptian Ministry of Health to ensure safe delivery of our items, according to Jumia CEO, who expects the new customers to continue using online shopping after the crisis.

Online shopping in Egypt is currently not restricted to existing websites, for many stores and shops, including small bakeries, groceries, butcher shops, vegetable and fruits shops and others, started to establish their own pages on social media websites to sell online.

“That is really amazing for us as customers! They deliver the orders for free if they are in the same neighborhood and they even make big discounts for online shoppers,” said Areej Ahmed, a 34-year-old housewife.

“The good thing is that the delivery men pay attention to safety measures, as they wear face masks and gloves and avoid talking much or getting closer to customers,” she told Xinhua.

Egypt’s current nighttime curfew, which has been reduced from 10 hours to nine hours on Sunday, will continue for two weeks, and then the government will consider easing restrictions and gradually resuming several suspended activities.

The government has already started gradually reopening services and offices that have been suspended since mid-March amid a “coexistence plan” to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.

Economic experts in Egypt hope that investment in the field of online shopping could grow bigger to largely constitute to the economy, as in big economies like China and the United States.

“Online shopping has notably helped so many companies, stores and factories that have suffered greatly from the imposed curfew and anti-COVID-19 restrictions,” said Egyptian economic expert Abu Bakr al-Deeb.

“I think that the culture of online shopping in Egypt will continue even after the end of the coronavirus crisis. This area of business will witness unprecedented development and investment in the coming few years,” the expert told Xinhua.

(XINHUA)

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Egypt’s army kills 19 “terrorists” in restive North Sinai

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Egyptian armed forces killed 19 “terrorists” in the country’s restive North Sinai province, a military spokesperson said on Sunday.

The forces obtained intelligence information about a number of terrorists hiding in several hideouts in Bir al-Abd, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah cities of North Sinai, military spokesman Tamer al-Refai said in a statement.

The army troops carried out two raids on these hotbeds, killing three terrorists who had automatic rifles, the spokesman said.

Grenades and RPG rockets have been seized, al-Refai said, adding that five explosive devices that were planted to target the armed forces were detonated.

Al-Refai revealed that 16 other terrorists were also killed in several airstrikes in North Sinai, adding that two four-wheel drive vehicles and a warehouse of explosive devices were destroyed in the air raids.

The spokesman pointed out that two officers and two soldiers were killed or injured during these operations.

He did not mention when these military operations took place.

Egypt has been fighting a wave of terrorist activities that killed hundreds of policemen, soldiers and civilians since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Most terrorist attacks in Egypt over the past few years were claimed by a Sinai-based group loyal to the Islamic State regional terrorist group.

(XINHUA)

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Egyptian, French presidents discuss regional issues, focus on war-torn Libya

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed on Saturday the development of several regional issues, including the situation in Libya.

During a phone call, Macron said he is keen to exchange views with Sisi over these issues as Cairo plays a key political role in the region, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.

For his part, Sisi affirmed Egypt’s firm position towards the Libyan crisis based on restoring Libyan national state institutions, ending the spread of criminal groups and terrorist militias.

He added that Egypt also gives top priority to combating terrorism, achieving stability and security and putting an end to illegal foreign interventions in Libya.

The two presidents agreed to intensify their coordination in the coming period, stressing the necessity to end the Libyan crisis by reaching a political solution that paves the way for the return of security and stability in the country, the spokesman said.

They showed support for international endeavors as well as implementing the results of the Berlin process to end the conflict in Libya.

Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Libyan conflict escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital Tripoli and another in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar.

While Egypt supports Haftar’s LNA that seeks to take over Tripoli, Turkey backs the Tripoli-based GNA.

(XINHUA)

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Roundup: Egypt reports biggest daily COVID-19 infections, increases hospitals for coronavirus treatment

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Egyptian Health Ministry reported on Saturday 1,367 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the highest daily record, raising the country’s total infections to 23,449.

Thirty-four new fatalities have also been recorded, bringing the country’s death toll from the disease to 913, the ministry’s spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.

According to Megahed, 182 patients have been discharged from the hospitals after fully cured, taking the recoveries in Egypt to 5,693.

Egypt has been witnessing a continuing surge in COVID-19 infections since the last week of April, with the government urging Egyptians to stay at home to avoid infections.

Since the beginning of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday on May 24, Egypt extended a previously imposed nighttime curfew from nine hours to 13 hours for six days, to maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings amid increasing COVID-19 infections.

Starting from Saturday, May 30, the curfew was reduced to 10 hours for two weeks, and then the government will consider easing the restrictions and gradually resuming some suspended activities.

The government has already started gradually reopening services and offices that have been suspended since mid-March amid a “coexistence plan” to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Saturday that the ministry has increased the number of hospitals tasked with receiving the coronavirus patients to be 376 nationwide.

She noted that 5,400 health units and 1,000 fixed and mobile medical convoys have been allocated across the country to distribute a bag of medicines and preventive supplies to those who have been in contact with COVID-19 positive cases.

The minister appealed to those who recover from the virus to donate blood plasma after 14 days of their recovery to contribute to the treatment of critical cases of COVID-19.

She noted that plasma injection showed a great success after treating 30 critical cases since blood plasmas of the recovered patients contain coronavirus antibodies, according to a statement by the health ministry.

Zayed also urged those who show symptoms of the coronavirus to go to any of these hospitals where they will receive necessary tests and treatment if needed.

Egypt and China have been closely cooperating in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through exchanging medical aid and expertise to curb the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

In early February, Egypt was among the first nations to provide aid to China in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

Since mid-April, Chinese doctors held three video conferences with Egyptian counterparts to share their experiences in the prevention and treatment of the novel coronavirus.

(XINHUA)

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Egypt sees highest single-day hike of COVID-19 deaths, infections

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Egypt registered 34 new COVID-19 fatalities on Friday, the highest single-day surge since the pandemic hit the country in mid-February, raising the death toll to 879.

The North African country also reported a single-day record of 1,289 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total infections in Egypt to 22,082, Egypt‘s health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.

Megahed noted that 152 coronavirus patients were completely cured and discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours, taking the total recoveries to 5,511.

Egypt has been witnessing a continuing surge in COVID-19 infections since the last week of April, with the government urging Egyptians to stay at home to avoid infections.

The Health Ministry has recently prepared 320 public hospitals for receiving and treating coronavirus patients. Besides, the hospitals of chest diseases and fever have been working with full capacity since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Since the beginning of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday on May 24, Egypt extended a previously imposed nighttime curfew from nine hours to 13 hours for six days, to maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings amid increasing COVID-19 infections.

From May 30, the curfew will be reduced to 10 hours for two weeks, and then the government will consider easing the restrictions and gradually resuming some suspended activities.

The government has already started gradually reopening services and offices that have been suspended since mid-March amid a “coexistence plan” to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.

The country has also allowed the reopening of 78 hotels in seven provinces for local tourists after they have been inspected and given “hygiene safety” certificates from a government special committee.

Egypt and China have been closely cooperating in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through exchanging medical aid and expertise to curb the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

In early February, Egypt was among the first nations to provide aid to China in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

Since mid-April, Chinese doctors held three video conferences with Egyptian counterparts to share their experiences in the prevention and treatment of the novel coronavirus.

(XINHUA)

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