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Egypt's Sisi extends state of emergency due to coronavirus

Egyptian men wearing masks wait outside a centre of non-governmental organisation Egyptian Food Bank to receive cartons with food aid on 5 April 2020 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)]
Egyptian men wearing masks wait outside a centre of non-governmental organisation Egyptian Food Bank to receive cartons with food aid on 5 April 2020 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree extending the state of emergency across the country "due to the critical security and health situation," the official gazette reported.

A state of emergency was declared in April 2017 after militants carried out twin attacks on a Coptic church in the city of Tanta and another in Alexandria, killing 45 people.

The Emergency Law reinforces the security apparatuses' authority to arrest and surveil citizens. It also enables the state to impose restrictions on an individual's freedom of movement in some areas.

The presidential decree read: "Due to the critical security and health situation that the country is undergoing, and after consultation with the cabinet council, the president declares a state of emergency across the country for three months, starting 1am on Tuesday 28 April 2020."

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The decree also indicated that those who breach it would be imprisoned.

The extension of the state of emergency comes amid fears of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in 200,000 deaths across globally.

More than 4,500 Egyptians have contracted the virus, including 300 who have died as a result, according to the Ministry of Health. Canadian researchers believe the actual figure is much higher amidst fear of a government coverup.

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