Egypt mask
File photo: A man wearing a protective mask against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Al Rahman mosque, in the southern suburb of Maadi, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt March 6, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Egypt will charge an immediate fine of EGP 50 (approximately $3.16) on those not wearing face masks in public starting Sunday, local media reported.

The move aims to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the overpopulous country during the second wave of the pandemic.

Restaurants and coffee shops not abiding by the coronavirus restrictions, which include a limited occupancy rate of 50 percent, will be closed for a week and fined EGP 4,000 ($252.5).

A fine of EGP 50 will be imposed in metro and railway stations nationwide on people not wearing face masks.

Although the Egyptian Cabinet announced earlier the banning of New Year celebrations in public places, hundreds gathered on Alexandria’s iconic Stanley Bridge to celebrate after midnight.

Photos circulated on social media showing the bridge packed with people, without maintaining social-distancing and with many of them not even wearing face masks.

This comes two days before a Cabinet decision to impose a EGP 50 fine for not wearing masks in public was set to come into effect.

The country has been seeing a second wave of the pandemic since the last week of December, recording double the number of infections daily.

Egypt has so far registered 139,471 cases of COVID-19 since mid-February, including 112,826 recoveries and 7,687 fatalities.

Egypt has warned of a spike in COVID-19 cases since November, as the general public have been showing a relaxed enforcement of the preventive measures since a drop in confirmed cases has been recorded in the past months.

Officials said they will exercise “zero tolerance” against people who fail to adhere to preventive measures against the pandemic.

Egypt has made wearing face masks in public places mandatory since 30 May, with violators facing hefty fines of up to EGP 4,000.

However, most people in the country have not been adhering to the mask regulations, especially with the decline in reported infections over the past months.

Egypt began the move towards a gradual reopening of its economy in June, easing pandemic-related restrictions, including lifting a night-time curfew, reopening restaurants and places of worship, and resuming regular international flights as part of its plans to coexist with the virus.