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Thursday, 30 April 2020

Egypt draws up plans to “coexist” with covid-19 in the long term

The government is drawing up plans to “coexist” with covid-19 in the long term, saying there is currently “no end in sight” to the outbreak, according to a cabinet statement. Health Minister Hala Zayed presented to cabinet yesterday her ministry’s proposal that would see the government significantly ease restrictions and gradually reopen the economy while still adhering to “precautionary medical guidelines.”

The plan wouldn’t see a complete return to normalcy, but is meant to give businesses and government services space to operate and fire up the economy again. Zayed said the government would push for an increased reliance on electronic payments and services to avoid physical crowding, while places labeled as "high risk" for the spread of the virus — which were not specified in the statement — will remain closed.

Zayed didn’t say when this plan would come into effect, but our guess is the government is shooting for right after Ramadan. Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly has relaxed some covid-19 restrictions for the duration of the holy month, including shortening the nighttime curfew, and suggested at the time we could see a “gradual” return to normal life after Ramadan.

Nothing is set in stone: The government will review the plan and amend it as needed every two weeks based on how the situation progresses, the statement notes.

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