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Egypt refers 1,112 to public prosecutor for violating covid measures

Members of the medical staff at the infectious diseases unit of the Imbaba hospital are seen in the capital Cairo on April 19, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. [AHMED HASAN/AFP via Getty Images]
Members of the medical staff at the infectious diseases unit of the Imbaba hospital are seen in the capital Cairo on April 19, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. [AHMED HASAN/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt's Interior Ministry has referred 1,112 people to the public prosecution after they refused to pay the 50 Egyptian pounds ($3.19) fine for violating precautionary covid measures.

On Sunday, the government announced that anyone not wearing a mask in government offices, banks, public transport and indoor public areas would be immediately fined or prosecuted.

All indoor weddings, funerals, festivals and other mass gatherings have been cancelled indefinitely.

Businesses have been ordered to reduce capacity to 50 per cent or less and shops have been told to comply with restricted opening hours.

On Tuesday, within 24 hours, 20,986 people were fined for not wearing a mask.

The Interior Ministry issued fines to 703 shops which did not adhere to the new opening hours and closed cafes, restaurants, gyms, event marquees and shops.

READ: Egypt health minister caught at large wedding as covid pandemic rages

On Monday, Egypt's Assistant Minister of Local Development announced that 16,016 establishments across Egypt have been closed down.

News of the prosecutions comes despite the controversy surrounding health minister Hala Zayed, who was caught on video attending a wedding earlier this week.

In a ceremony thought to have been held on 3 January the video shows a room full of wedding guests, none of whom are wearing masks.

Zayed has been making daily announcements about the need to reduce gatherings and raise awareness.

She was also under intense criticism after a video on Sunday went viral of an entire ICU unit who died due to insufficient oxygen.

Doctors have long spoken out about a shortage of essential medicine, including oxygen, at hospitals.

A report last year stated that Egypt's health system was on the brink of collapse.

As the second wave continues to engulf Egypt, the government officially reported 1,119 covid cases yesterday and 52 deaths.

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