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Egypt’s president extends 3-year state of emergency by 3 months amid virus & security fears

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Egypt’s president extends 3-year state of emergency by 3 months amid virus & security fears

28 Apr, 2020 14:45 / Updated 3 hours ago

Egypt’s president extends 3-year state of emergency by 3 months amid virus & security fears

Cars are stuck in a traffic jam before the start of curfew hours to contain the spread of the coronavirus, in Cairo, Egypt, April 14, 2020. © Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered a three-month renewal for the long-running state of emergency in the country on Tuesday, citing health and security concerns. Egypt has been under a state of emergency since April 2017, when twin church bombings claimed by an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) affiliate group killed dozens of people.

The new extension comes as the government battles to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the Arab world’s most populous country.

The Health Ministry has so far recorded 4,782 coronavirus cases among the population of 100 million. Of those, 337 have died while 1,236 have recovered, AFP said.

The state of emergency gives police broad powers of arrest and detention and curtails constitutional rights such as freedom of speech and assembly. Last week, parliament reportedly approved amendments to the emergency law which expanded the president’s powers to curb the virus’ spread.