Egypt Suspends in-class Learning, Postpones First Term Exams Amid Coronavirus Concerns

The cabinet also ordered that the remaining classes in the first semester of the current academic year be taken only through an online system

The Egyptian cabinet on Thursday announced that first term exams in schools and universities will be postponed until after the end of the mid-year vacation to mitigate against the impact of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mid-year vacation has been slated for 16 January – 20 February.

The Egyptian cabinet also ordered that the remaining classes in the first semester of the current academic year be taken only through an online system, starting from Saturday.

The decisions are apart of measures taken by the Egyptian Government to mitigate against the consequences of the spread of the coronavirus, and in the interest of the health and safety of everyone involved in the educational process, including students, faculty members, and teachers, the statement noted.

On December 20, the country’s ministry of education decided to make students attendance optional for the rest of the first semester while leaving schools open to receive students willing to attend.

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During the cabinet meeting which was held on Thursday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly emphasised the importance of implementing the cabinet decisions to reduce the number of employees on duty in ministries and government bodies and ensuring attendance rotation.

Madbouly said this decision was necessary, following the complaints received by the government regarding health concerns at government entities.

The prime minister also emphasised the implementation of immediate fines on citizens and establishments that do not adhere to the coronavirus precautionary measures starting Sunday. He added that the cabinet will follow up with all governors to see this decision through.

While attempting to curb the spread of the coronavirus, earlier this week, the Egyptian cabinet ordered a number of measures, including the imposition of an immediate EGP 50 fine on citizens who fail to comply with the wearing of facemasks in public, starting 3 January.

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Meanwhile on Wednesday Cairo’s Metro Authority also announced the collection of a similar fine from those who fail to wear face masks in metro stations, also starting Sunday.

New Year’s Eve celebrations have been banned while restrictions on occupancy for hotels, restaurants and coffee shops are being maintained.

On Thursday, Madbouly stressed that the government would speedily and decisively deal with any attempt to hold celebrations or gatherings on New Year’s Eve, with violators facing legal actions.

Egypt, which is currently struggling with second wave of the pandemic, has witnessed an upsurge of daily infections after reporting low rates over the past months.

On Wednesday, the country recorded 1,411 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily record in almost five months, bringing the total number of cases to 136,644 since the pandemic emerged in the country mid-February.

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The number of coronavirus cases in Egypt is expected to reach its peak during the second wave in late January. This was according to Wagida Anwar, a member of the Supreme Committee for Viruses at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

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