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Egypt suspends 90% of national projects over coronavirus fears

April 8, 2020 at 10:16 am

Construction work takes place after a 12-storey apartment building collapsed in Alexandria, Egypt on June 1, 2017 [Ahmed Abd Alkawey/Anadolu Agency]

More than 90 per cent of Egypt’s major projects have been suspended following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

An official source at the Egyptian cabinet told the New Khaleej that the government move had come after dozens of workers in the construction areas, especially at Cairo’s western new administrative capital city projects and the western Al-Alamein city, were reported to have contracted the virus, known as COVID-19.

The source added that the construction companies contracted on these projects were forced to offer their workers “two weeks compulsory leave, with a possible extension”.

READ: Egypt to ban Ramadan gatherings to counter coronavirus

In addition, the source pointed out, a number of major electronics’ factories, including Samsung Electronics and local Toshiba Al-Arabi for home appliances, were shut “after a number of confirmed infection cases among the workers there were recently reported.”

Egypt now has 1,322 official cases of the coronavirus, 85 deaths and 259 reported recoveries, though researchers estimate the figures of infected cases to be far higher.

On Saturday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi postponed the launch of a number of major national projects, which were planned to be inaugurated in 2020 and early 2021. The decision included the new administrative capital project, as well as the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

So far, at least 1,414,736 people worldwide have contracted the virus, of whom more than 81,249 have died; 301,315 have recovered, according to the US’ Worldometers. The World Health Organisation has declared the crisis to be a pandemic.

Coronavirus is affecting the world's economy - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Coronavirus is affecting the world’s economy – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]