Copy of 2020-03-16T133530Z_2020550049_RC21LF9FAYNU_RTRMADP_3_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-EGYPT-1584366461953
The suspension of the air traffic will continue until March 31. Image Credit: REUTERS

Cairo: Egypt will temporarily halt flights to its airports starting from Thursday as a further measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli said.

“This suspension of the air traffic will continue until March 31,” he told a press conference in Cairo Monday. “The aim of this decision is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” he added.

During the shutdown, all hotels and tourism facilities will be sterilised and disinfected, he explained.

Tourism is the main source of Egyptian economy that has recently recovered after years of doldrums.

Madbouli said his government plans to cut the number of employees dealing with the public in a bid to curtail the highly infectious disease.

“All these measures are pre-emptive and precautionary in order to ensure that the crisis will not develop as has happened in other countries,” Madbouli said.

The steps are the latest in a series that Egyptian authorities have taken to combat the virus. They include closing educational institutions, banning large public gatherings and shortening prayer time.