24 million Egyptian students begin school year amid virus precautions

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Students wearing protective masks attend the first day's class at Al Sadeeya school, following months of closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Cairo, Egypt October 17, 2020. (Reuters)
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Students wearing protective masks attend the first day at Al Sadeeya school, following months of closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Cairo, Egypt October 17, 2020. (Reuters)
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Students wearing protective masks attend the first day's class at Al Sadeeya school, following months of closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Cairo, Egypt October 17, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 18 October 2020

24 million Egyptian students begin school year amid virus precautions

  • School leaders spent the first day of school making announcements to students about essential hygiene and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • There was generally a high turnout of students in most schools, despite rumors of classes being canceled

CAIRO: Amid measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, 24 million Egyptian students have started their academic year in 56,000 different schools.
School leaders spent the first day of school making announcements to students about essential hygiene and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There was generally a high turnout of students in most schools, despite rumors of classes being canceled.
The Ministry of Education and Technical Education circulated precautionary measures for schools, such as following up on those who have been in contact with infected people to limit the transmission of infection, raising awareness among all groups participating in education, including students’ families, and maintaining social distancing.
Mahmoud El-Fouly, a representative of the Education and Technical Education Directorate in Giza Governorate, said that the student attendance on the first day of school was 100 percent. He said that he addressed the students in the morning to reassure them about the pandemic.
“Egypt is free of the coronavirus, but prevention is better than treatment,” he said.
He called for maintaining personal hygiene and the constant ventilation of classrooms and places where students gather inside schools.
Official sources said that at the beginning of term the ministry will follow up the attendance of students and any problems that might appear. Schools have instructions on how to deal with any cases of sickness quickly.
The Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education denied reports that the start of studies in universities for the academic year 2020-2021 would be postponed. It said that the academic year began in all universities nationwide on the announced date, Saturday.
The first semester of the academic year in Egypt will last for 14 weeks, ending on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, with the first semester exams taking place from Jan. 23 until Feb. 4, 2021.
The mid-year break runs from Feb. 6 until Feb. 18, 2021. The second semester starts on Feb. 20, 2021 and continues for sixteen weeks until July 10, 2021.
The end-of-semester exams will be conducted during June and July 2021.

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Iran imposes new restrictions to stem coronavirus spread

Updated 31 October 2020

Iran imposes new restrictions to stem coronavirus spread

  • Rouhani announced new restrictions that will take effect on Wednesday in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces for 10 days
  • Police will make unannounced visits to other high-risk businesses, and those that violate health protocols will be shut down

Weddings, wakes and conferences will be banned in the Iranian capital until further notice as the Middle East’s hardest-hit nation battles a third wave of COVID-19, police said on Saturday.
President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile announced new restrictions that will take effect on Wednesday in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces for 10 days.
The official IRNA news agency said Tehran police had extended by one week the closure of businesses including beauty salons, teahouses, cinemas, libraries and fitness clubs.
Police will make unannounced visits to other high-risk businesses, and those that violate health protocols will be shut down, IRNA quoted police official Nader Moradi as saying.
Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said in a televised press briefing that the new restrictions from next week in the 25 provinces and 89 counties will include include the closure of institutions such as schools, universities, libraries and mosques.
Rouhani said in televised remarks that strict health protocols should be observed when holding weddings and funerals in those provinces and counties.
Iranian authorities have blamed a sharp increase in cases on people failing to follow restrictions, and Rouhani said an operations headquarters will be set up to ensure compliance with the health protocols.
Total COVID-19 deaths rose by 386 over the past 24 hours to reach 34,864, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV on Saturday, adding total cases rose by 7,820 to 612,772.