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Covid preventative measures relaxed as Egyptians struggle to find hospital beds

June 4, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Medical staff wearing protective gear help a patient in the isolated ward for the coronavirus in Cairo, Egypt on 29 April 2020 (COVID-19) [YAHYA DIWER/AFP/Getty Images]

Egypt has announced plans to relax some of its covid preventative measures as it pushes ahead with its policy to coexist with the virus.

Several members from the Committee of Religious Affairs and Endowments have backed plans to open a number of mosques in the country if the Health Ministry confirms the virus is no longer a threat.

Mosques were shut in March to try and prevent the spread of the virus.

Worshippers will have to wear masks, socially distance, and have their own prayer mat. Toilets and ablution areas will be sealed off and children are not allowed to attend.

The government has also permitted hotels which meet health and safety rules to reopen with a reduced occupancy rate.

In March the government shut restaurants, hotels and cafes and suspended international flights to combat the pandemic.

READ: Egypt sends medical aid to Congo, Zambia

Initially, some 78 hotels reopened with an occupancy rate of 25 per cent and that figure has now risen to 99 at an occupancy rate of 50 per cent.

Hotels are not allowed to host parties, weddings, or buffets and tables must be the correct distance apart.

Late last night the coronavirus crisis management committee cancelled the seven-day hotel quarantine period for Egyptian returnees, stipulating they must quarantine at home instead if they are showing no coronavirus symptoms.

The mandatory quarantine period had already been shortened from 14 days.

A number of critics have said it’s too early for Egypt to coexist with the virus since last week saw daily rises in infections for three days in a row.

Medics who are struggling to get adequate protective equipment have asked for a full lockdown which the government refuses.

The country’s top medical union has warned that the healthcare system in the country is close to collapse and that authorities need to step up measures to protect their doctors.

A number of families have posted on social media asking for help after not being able to find hospital beds for their relatives as ICU units across the country reach maximum capacity.