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An Egyptian man loads his car with cartons with foodstuffs outside a centre of non-governmental organisation Egyptian Food Bank on April 5 as the charity distributes aid to people who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic crisis, in the Egyptian capital Cairo. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Egypt Wednesday extended for two more weeks a nighttime curfew imposed to curtail the spread of the new coronavirus in the country of around 100 million people.

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli said that the duration of the nationwide curfew will be shortened by one hour to begin at 8pm (10 UAE time) instead of 7pm and continue until 6 in the morning daily til April 23.

The cut is aimed at easing public transport crowding ahead of the curfew enforcement, Madbouli explained at a televised press conference following a cabinet meeting.

Images on social media recently showed Cairo subway coaches and provincial trains packed with passengers anxious to reach home before the start of the curfew.

“We continue to maintain all precautionary measures as well as suspending the air traffic, the closure of schools, universities and commercial stores and scaling down workforce at the state institutions,” Madbouli said.

He added that Egypt is still within the “safe limits” of coronavirus infections, but he warned against underestimating the threat of the highly contagious ailment.

Egypt has recorded so far a total of 94 deaths from the Covid-19 out of a tally of 1,450 infection cases.

Madbouli also said Wednesday that the salaries of his government’s members would be cut by 20 per cent for three months and that the money will be allocated for supporting Egypt’s casual workers who are hard hit by the precautions against the virus.