Egypt disinfects landmark museum as virus fears grow

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A member of a medical team sprays disinfectant as a precautionary move amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt March 23, 2020. (Reuters)
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Workers disinfect a gallery at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, on March 23, 2020. (AFP)
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A worker disinfects a gallery of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, on March 23, 2020.(AFP)
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A worker disinfects a gallery at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, on March 23, 2020.(AFP)
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A worker disinfects the Royal Mummies Hall at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, on March 23, 2020. (AFP)
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A view of pharaonic artifacts inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt March 23, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 23 March 2020

Egypt disinfects landmark museum as virus fears grow

  • Sporting white coats, gloves and face masks, the men sprayed sanitisers across the vast museum halls
  • The artefacts were kept behind locked glass vitrines as staff proceeded with the disinfection procedures

CAIRO: Cleaning crews descended upon the landmark Egyptian Museum in Cairo on Monday, dousing it with disinfectants as fears mount over the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Sporting white coats, gloves and face masks, the men sprayed sanitisers across the vast museum halls, home to thousands of precious relics spanning Egypt's prehistoric era through the Roman period.
The museum also holds the priceless objects of the 18th dynasty Egyptian boy king Tutankhamun including his gold mask, a chariot and throne.
Nestled in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, the museum has long been a major tourist draw.
"The museum has been ordered shut from today (Monday) until March 31 and we started the cleaning operations on exposed surfaces," said Sabah Sediq, the museum's director.
The artefacts were kept behind locked glass vitrines as staff proceeded with the disinfection procedures.
"We will be using special materials designed to clean and protect the artifacts in restoration labs," Sediq said.
Similar cleaning operations are to be carried out at archaeological sites and museums across Egypt to guard against the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Saturday, the antiquities ministry said disinfection and sterilisation measures had already been taken at prominent ancient sites including the Kom al-Shoqafa catacombs and the Roman victory column of "Pompey's Pillar" in the coastal city of Alexandria.
The operations have also swept hotels, sea and airports, metro stations and other sites across Egypt.
Egypt's health ministry has so far registered 14 deaths out of 327 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease.
Authorities have imposed tough measures to limit social interaction in the country of 100 million inhabitants, closing schools and universities and ordering cafes, restaurants, sporting clubs and malls to close by 7.00 pm.
Air traffic was halted from last Thursday until the end of March.
Egypt's religious authorities have shuttered all mosques and churches and banned communal prayer gatherings for at least two weeks.


From the UAE to Jordan, viral songs keep thousands entertained during self-isolation

Emirati social media star Rashid Al-Nuaimi has become a viral sensation. (Instagram/@r__a__n)
Updated 30 March 2020

From the UAE to Jordan, viral songs keep thousands entertained during self-isolation

DUBAI: From singing opera on their balconies to performing online concerts, musicians all around the globe are finding different ways to keep themselves — and others — entertained while self-isolating at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some are doing their part by rewriting the lyrics to their favorite songs into COVID-19 parodies, while others are creating clever new compositions to bring a little levity to these unprecedented times.

Emirati social media star Rashid Al-Nuaimi has become a viral sensation after taking to his Instagram on Sunday to upload a coronavirus-themed song about being bored in quarantine.

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What a moment to be alive. So many emotions take place at the same exact time. It’s important however to remind ourselves that we are all in this together. The world comes together for once in a common cause, and I personally will aim to not let this tragic scenario send me into a pit of fear, but use it to dig for every ounce of love. Love is expressed is many ways, and right now it’s expressed by staying at home. We will come out of the other side of this changed humans! Changed for the better. So let’s start being better now and stay home. My heart is filled with gratitude for every effort and risk the people are taking to protect the whole! Thank you to food delivery drivers, thank you to nurses and hospital workers, thank you to government officials who are working day and night to keep us safe. Thank you thank you thank you! #خلك_في_البيت Piano credit / Sing2piano

A post shared by Rashed راشد (@r__a__n) on

“Has it been a month/No it’s only been a day,” croons the singer, who is surrounded by a pile of books and a cup of tea while wearing yellow sweatpants paired with a hoodie. “I read through a pile of self-help books/ The Uber Eats on the way,” continue the ultra-relatable lyrics.

“Bored in quarantine/I’ll sit with the parts of myself that I have never seen/I’ll be bored in quarantine/I know for a fact, it’ll all be over one day/So I’ll stay in today,” the young jazz singer belts out.

As of this week, the musical clip has garnered nearly 30,000 views and over 200 comments. “Love this. Embracing individual boredom for the greater good,” wrote one user. “Thank you for making this,” quipped another user.

Meanwhile, Jordanian choir The Mosaica Singers came together online to record the song “Khalik bil Bait,” which translates to “stay at home.” 

Legendary singer Neil Diamond remixed his own song, “Sweet Caroline” with some new lyrics, while former “The Voice” contestant Chris Mann released a brilliant coronavirus parody based on Adele’s “Hello,” wittingly titled “Hello (From Inside).”

During troubled times, people often turn to music for comfort, a distraction or to calm the nerves. The coronavirus crisis has produced several moments of musical communion across the globe, including in Italy, where countless online videos have captured scenes of Italians under lockdown playing instruments and singing from apartment windows and balconies. Last week, actress Gal Gadot posted her own Instagram video — a montage of celebrities taking turns to croon John Lennon’s “Imagine” into their cellphone cameras.