FILE - Egypt's First Lady Entissar El-Sisi
CAIRO – 20 April 2020: Egypt’s First Lady, Entissar Amer, congratulated Egyptians on the social holiday of Sham El-Nessim on Monday April 20th, while tougher restrictions have been imposed during this day to limit people’s mobility amid the coronavirus crisis.
“We celebrate, today, Sham El-Nessim, whose wonderful rituals symbolize the highest human values represented in joy, tolerance and human solidarity,” Amer said in a Facebook post.
These values “reflect the Egyptian people’s love to life, which it inherited from its ancient forefathers with their ancient civilization”
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.
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.
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.
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.