According to the WHO, the first case of COVID-19 was reported on February 14, 2020. The pandemic is likely to impact the Egyptian economy primarily due to declining travel and tourist activity, reduced worker remittances, capital outflows, and slowdown in domestic activities as people are asked to stay home. The weaker demand in the global market will also reduce Egypt's exports as well as earnings from the Suez Canal. The authorities have taken a host of precautionary measures to improve testing as well as to limit the community spread of the virus, including setting up testing centers, imposing a nighttime curfew, temporarily closing places of worship, temporarily halting all air travel, and encouraging civil servants to work from home in non-essential sectors. Authorities also suspended the export of all types of legumes for a period of 3 months - which has been extended further for 3 more months in June 2020, and they plan to start increasing strategic food reserves to meet domestic demand. Egypt have resumed the export of medical supplies, after a temporary halt in March 2020. Around 77,000 Egyptians have been repatriated since the start of the pandemic. The central bank and the government are actively implementing measures to contain economic implications of the pandemic.
Reopening of the economy. According to a Cabinet statement on April 30, 2020, the government had started to draw up plans to ‘coexist’ with COVID-19 in the long term. Since the last week of April 2020, shopping malls and retail outlets had been allowed to open on weekends until 5 pm, while restaurant customers had been allowed to place takeaway orders in-store. Starting May 4, 2020, hotels were allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity until June 2020, and at 50 percent capacity, thereafter. Egypt’s Health Ministry has published a 3-stage plan for coronavirus management that contains required procedures in preparation for the gradual return of normal life in the country. Starting June 1, 2020, nighttime curfew was one hour shorter – from 8pm to 5am instead of 6am. Starting July 2020, a gradual re-opening of the economy – air travel will resumed, restaurants and cafes opened with 25 percent capacity, stores will close at 9 pm while restaurants and cafes will close at 10 pm, beaches will remain closed until further notice, public transportation will operate between 4 am and midnight., All parks and specialized gardens around Cairo will open to the public starting on August 26, 2020, with a maximum capacity of 50 percent. Starting September 21, funeral prayers and wedding ceremonies held in open-air venues have been allowed, for a maximum limit of 300 people. Guidance on risk mitigation measures remains in place, including social distancing and mask wearing. International flights have resumed, and tourists are arriving in small numbers.