A zoo employee wearing full protective gear sprays disinfectant at the closed Giza Zoo, during the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
CAIRO – 20 April 2020: Many citizens are confused about the transitory measures during the Egyptian Sham El-Nessim celebrations to avoid large gatherings. In brief, all shops, malls, restaurants, public gardens and beaches are closed throughout Monday.
This comes as the government last week announced complete closure of public gardens and beaches during the holiday, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and warned it would fine the violators of the precautionary measures with LE 4,000 ($254).
In Cairo, authorities have banned riverboats and closed all ports of the Nile River, to ban any planned cruises until Tuesday. Public gardens, clubs, cafes and most of the malls in the northeastern African country have been already closed since March, while a dusk-to-dawn is also imposed.
Sham El-Nassim is a festival which dates back to Pharaonic times and used to herald the coming of the spring floods. In modern times, Sham El-Nessim, which translates to “smelling the breeze,” follows the Coptic Orthodox Easter Sunday.
CAIRO - 20 April 2020: Egypt's Cairo Metro announced that all three lines will be suspended, Monday in accordance with the Cabinet decisions for Sham al Nessem holiday. On Thursday, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli announced during a press conference the complete closure of public gardens and beaches on Monday, which markes Sham el-Nessim holiday.
Thousands of Egyptians, every year during Sham El-Nessim, used to hang out in public gardens, clubs, beaches and zoos. However, as Egypt has recorded an increasing number of coronavirus cases, the government has strongly warned citizens against large gatherings and said violators would be fined.
During a press conference last week, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said that all public transportation will be suspended during the day, including Cairo Metro and National Railways.
“We understand the Egyptians' desire to celebrate the holiday; however, these decisions come for the favor of Egyptians amid fears of coronavirus outbreak,” Madbouli said. He added that the government aims to reduce social gatherings as much as possible which will eliminate the spread of Covid 19.
A day after the government’s decision, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi warned that the state will firmly face any breach that “harm the interest of the homeland and citizens, in order to overcome this ordeal peacefully and preserve the success we have achieved so far.”
The Egyptian Ministry of Health announced, Sunday 112 new coronavirus cases, and 15 deaths.
According to Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed, the new cases, raises Egypt’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 3144 and deaths to 239.
He added that the number of coronavirus cases whose tests turned from positive to negative increased to 1001, including 732 people who recovered from the virus.
All positive cases are placed under quarantine at isolation hospitals, the spokesman said.
He added that 31 of those infected with coronavirus were discharged from hospitals after receiving the necessary medical care. The total number of recoveries so far reached 732.
Health officials warn every year against the tradition of eating the ‘fesikh’ dish during Sham El-Nessim because it goes through dangerous processes that can ultimately cause hazardous foodborne illnesses.
CAIRO - 19 April 2020: The Egyptian Ministry of Health strongly warned on Sunday morning against eating fish that is high in salt, including the renga (herring) fish and fesikh, a fermented and salted fish dish made from mullet, a day before the national holiday of Sham El-Nessim.