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Egypt extends night-time curfew, closure of schools

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Wednesday that the Egyptian government will extend a nationwide night-time curfew by 15 days until April 23 to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

Airports will stay closed until the end of the month, he said in a televised news conference, adding that the curfew would now start one hour later at 8pm local time (1800 GMT) each evening. The government also extended the closure of schools and universities, while malls, cafes and shops will close at night and on weekends.

Many in the country of 100 million people live in fertile rural areas along the Nile river and public health services can be severely stretched.

Egypt has taken steps to curtail the impact of coronavirus on the economy, including a surprise 3 percent interest rate cut, cash transfers to informal workers, salary payments for laid-off regular employees via an emergency fund, and an injection of $1.27 billion to support the stock market, Reuters said.