Egypt


Author: Prof. Dr. Mohamed S. Abdel Wahab

Email: msw@zulficarpartners.com

Website Contact: www.zulficarpartners.com

Overview of legal measures as of 23 April 2020 as response to the coronavirus. Please note: Due to the extraordinary situation, the legislation is in continuous evolution and may change very fast.

Introduction

General Overview

The Egyptian government has taken precautionary and protective measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 even before the World Health Organization's declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic on 12 March 2020 by prohibiting all social gatherings by Decree No.606 of 2020, issued on 9 March 2020 (Section 1.4 below). In mid March, the Prime Minister ("PM") introduced a national curfew from 7 pm to 6 am by issuing Decree No.768 of 2020 on 24 March 2020, which was subject to an amendment by a following PM's Decree No. 852 of 2020 whereas the national curfew was reduced one hour and for a period of two weeks. Moreover, the suspension of all international air traffic has been renewed until further notice (PM Decree No. 852 of 2020, dated 8 April 2020).

More specifically, the Government's restrictions is being elevated for Easter festive to prevent any social gatherings. A 24 hours curfew is declared on Monday 20 March 2020 which suspended all public transportation. [PM Decree No. 923, dated 16 April 2020].

In preparation for the holy month of Ramadan, the PM issued Decree No. 939 of 2020, dated 23 April 2020 reducing the daily national curfew by one hour to be from 9 pm to 6 am, and amending all previous provisions accordingly.

Following the Decree No. 939 of 2020, the President of the State declared the state of emergency in the Country for 3 months starting 28 of April 2020. [See Section 1.10 below]

Upon the issuance of the Presedntial Decree, the PM issued Decree No. 1024 of 2020, dated 8 May 2020. The Decree provides for the extension of the curfew and all existing precautionery measures in the State until the end of the holy month of Ramadan i.e. 23 May 2020.

While the Egyptian Government is in discussions to lift the restrictions gradually during the upcoming weeks, more strict exceptional measures has been adopted by the PM in light of approaching Eid Il Fitr-Feast-vacation. The PM has held a press conference announcing more strict measures to be imposed starting next Sunday 24 May until Friday 29 May 2020. The press conference declared the following restrictions included in PM Minister Decree No. 1068 of 2020, dated 19 May 2020 issued later same day: -

· Curfew hours increased to be from 5 pm till 6 am (instead of 9 pm in the holy month of Ramadan).

· Suspension of all public transportations during the said period.

· Total shutdown of all beaches, restaurants, parks, malls, cafes and retail shops.

· Total shutdown of all mosques and churches.

The said restrictions are covered in the PM Decree No. 1068 of 2020, dated 19 May 2020

<https://drive.google.com/file/d/1e82I9IRlGBREEUJVZvMKUU4npwmrIQMQ/view?fbclid=IwAR3wrKtISX1i-6oyGfFQ6l6xNjkGSw2uiKbIqP8uhiEkIr8CO0tTk1DCgfY>

Further, the PM encourages all factories to support the production of face masks including those made of washable fabrics that can be reused.

The PM also discussed post-feast restrictions including curfew hours that shall starts from 8 pm to 6 am according to PM Decree No. 1069 of 2020 dated 19 May 2020*. The post-feast restrictions from 30 May 2020 for 15 days. The same Decree also declared that wearing masks is mandatory in markets, shops, governmental entities, banks or public or private transportation until further notice. Additionally, a severe sanctions shall be applied to anyone who will not violate this provision.

On another hand, the Ministry of Aviation in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities declared the gradual re-opening of hotels and hospitality facilities with a 25% occupation of the total capacity of the hotels. The said percentage is to be increased to 50% after two weeks. The procedures and conditions of re-opening are under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.

<http://www.civilaviation.gov.eg/news/get/364>

On 4 June 2020, the Egyptian Chamber of Tourism issued Circular No. 27 of 2020 provides for the restrictions adopted while presenting the partial opening of restaurants and cafes sometime in June, considering all health precautions and measures.

http://www.civilaviation.gov.eg/news/get/364

*On 31 May 2020, the PM amended the curfew hours mentioned in Decree No. 1069 to start from start from 8 pm and ends at 5 am instead of 6 am. Public transportations hours also amended accordingly. <PM Decree No. 1121 of 2020 dated 31 May 2020>

As the PM Decree regarding the precautionary measures imposed by the Government to combat Covid-19 is about to expire (Decree No. 1069 of 2020), the PM on 11 June 2020 issued new Decree extending the same restrictions adopted since the start of this pandemic, in a less restrictive manner in order to pave the way for the partial opening of some facilities. The recently issued PM Decree No. 1196 of 2020 included: -

1. Curfew hours reduced to start from 8 PM to 4 AM, instead of 5 AM.

2. Shops and malls to be operated until 6 pm. Food delivery to be served all day.

3. Suspension of air flights until further notice.

4. Sporting clubs and youths’ centers to undertake the necessary maintenance to resume their activity, and to allow all members to renew their memberships early July 2020.

5. Suspension of schools and all educational institutions (except for the exams to be determined by the concerned authority).

6. Public transportations to work in light of the new curfew hours.

7. Resuming the cut down of governmental employees with the same conditions applied in previous decrees.

8. Face masks are still mandatory during the presence in public transportations and institutions.

The said Decree to be applied starting Sunday 14 June 2020 until the end of the month.

As June is coming to an end, the PM announced the new co-existence plan with Covid-19 for economic considerations. After the last decree issued by the PM which contained a less restrictive curfew hours and partial re-opening of some facilities, the PM lifted the curfew and provided for the re-opening of cafes, restaurants, sports clubs, cinemas, theaters and places of worship all with 25% of their total capacity. However, the suspension of schools and universities (except for nurseries which is a matter that is being currently reviewed by the Minister of Social Solidarity) is still in force until further notice, without prejudice to the instructions adopted by the Ministry of Education with regards to exams.

Further, the PM has set out the new working hours for all re-opened facilities to be from 6 am to 10 pm with regards to restaurants and cafes, and from 6 am to 9 pm for malls and commercial shops, considering all precautionary measures and health restrictions stipulated by the competent authorities. Sports clubs as well are allowed to work from 6 am to 9 pm with a capacity of 25%.

On the other hand, the PM extended the suspension of beaches and gardens in addition to any initiatives that requires the existence of big groups such as weddings, festivals, exhibitions and concerts until further notice.

Moreover, public and private transportations are to shut down from 12 am to 4 am.

The PM provided for each ministry, governorate and authorities to continue serving the public in accordance with the restrictions imposed by each competent entity.

The above referenced new regulations are to be enforced starting 27 June 2020 until further notice.

<PM Decree No. 1246 of 2020, dated 24 June 2020>

On 22 July 2020, the PM held a press conference and announced the new plan for the next phase to fight Covid-19 in the Country with the Coronavirus Crisis Management Higher Committee, in light of the adopted co-existing plan, which were later included in a decree, providing for the precautionary measures adopted for the next Phase. The PM Decree No. 1469 of 2020 dated 25 July 2020 provided for:

- Cafés and restaurants to extend their capacity from 25% to 50%.

- Working hours of cafes and restaurants to extend to 12 am instead of 10 pm

- Malls and commercial facilities’ working hours to be till 10 pm instead of 9 pm.

- Conferences and meeting shall be allowed given the maximum capacity shall not exceed 50 persons in a place that its capacity endures 100 persons, considering all the precautionary measures of keeping the social distance and wearing masks as long as people are inside the hall.

- Preparing for holding big fairs and exhibition in October 2020 with keeping the precautionary measures as it is.

- The remaining measures included in PM Decree No. 1246 of 2020 are still enforceable.

Also see Section 5.2 below in relation to the measures taken by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in order to travel to Egypt.

[PM Decree No. 1469 of 2020 dated 25 July 2020].

1. INTERVENTIONS AND RESTRICTIONS

1.1 Legal basis

The Egyptian Ministry of Health added the Covid-19 to its list of contagious diseases annexed to Law No. 137 of 1958 regarding the Medical Precautions to prevent contagious diseases, after the WHO declared the Covid-19 outbreak as pandemic. [Ministry of Health Decree No. 145 of 2020, dated 14 March 2020]

The Egyptian Ministry of Finance allocated an amount of EGP 3.8 Billion to support the health sector to fight the spread of Covid-19. More details in following link <www.mof.gov.eg/Arabic/MOFNews/Media/Pages/release25-3-2020.aspx>






1.2 Visas

The Prime Minister issued Decree No. 768 of 2020, dated 24 March 2020 providing the validity period of the officials extracts issued from the following authorities: Notary Public, Civil Status Administration, Traffic Licenses, Work Permits, and Passports in which date of their expiry is on the day prior to the date of entry into force of this Decree or during its validity period and extending the aforementioned official extracts throughout the period of its implementation without any financial burdens on the citizens.

The aforementioned Decree was subject to an extension by Prime Minister Decree No. 852 of 2020, dated 8 April 2020, which accordingly suspended all governmental services offered by the aforementioned governmental authorities. Further, extension for the said suspension to the governmental services (Article 6) was granted according to Prime Minister Decree No. 939 of 2020, dated 23 April 2020, with the exception of the following services:-

  • Health and Labour Offices

  • Services provided by Traffic Units in relation to issuing licences for new vehicles

  • Some services provided by the Notary Public, to be determined by the Ministry of Justice. (See Section 3.1 below)

The above measures are extended in accordance with the new Prime Minister Decree No. 1024 of 2020, dated 8 May 2020, then PM Decree No. 1069 of 2020 dated 19 May 2020.

These restrictions are extended by PM Decree No. 1196 of 2020.

With reference to the Notary Public, on 21 May 2020, the Ministry of Justice issued Circular No. 172 of 2020 to all Notary Public Offices to resume registering the Power of Attorneys starting the 1st of June 2020.

1.3 Export control

The Ministry of Trade and Industry ("MTI")

The Ministry of Trade and Industry issued several decrees regarding the suspension of exporting some medical products such as Alcohol and all its types and derivatives, surgical masks and all prevention from infection supplies and legumes.

On 7 March 2020, in light of fighting the spread of Covid-19, the MTI issued two Decrees suspending the exporting of:

1- The Minister of MTI Decree No. 186 of 2020 suspending the export of all kinds of alcohol and its derivatives for 3 months from the date of issuance of this Decree.

2- The Minister of MTI Decree No. 187 of 2020 suspending the export of surgical masks (face masks) and prevention from infection supplies for 3 months from the date of issuance of this Decree.

On 28 March 2020, among the State's strategy to protect its citizens from Covid-19 and any possible implications, The MTI issued Decree No. 194 of 2020 suspending the export of all types of legumes for 3 months from the date of issuance of this Decree.


1.4 Prohibition of crowds

Social Gatherings

From 9 March 2020: Suspension of all social events and gatherings (i.e. Concerts, Parties, Exhibitions, Festivals) that requires the transportation of the people between governorates.

[Prime Minister Decree No. 606 of 2020, dated 9 March 2020 renewed by PM Decree No. 1246 of 2020, dated 24 June 2020]

According to the PM Decree No. 1469 of 2020 dated 25 July 2020, exhibitions and festivals may come back on early October 2020. However, conferences may be held with a maximum capacity of 50 persons for a hall which capacity is 100 persons. [See Introduction section above]

Reducing Governmental Employees

The PM issued Decree No. 719 of the year 2020, regarding certain precautionary measures taken at the Units of the State Administrative Body and the companies of the Public Sector and Public Business Sector shall continue to apply. Such measures included:-

  • Employees, whose jobs allow them to work remotely, shall have the right to work from home. Other employees shall carry out their daily duties on rotation basis or subject to a weekly schedule [to be determined by each concerned competent authority]

  • Any employee who suffers from any chronic disease shall be granted an exceptional leave during the enforcement period of this decree.

  • Employees suffering from any illness other than chronic disease shall be granted an exceptional leave based on a medical report issued by a state hospital.

  • Any pregnant employee or a female employee who supports one or more child under the age of 12 shall be granted an exceptional leave during the enforcement of the present decree.

  • Employees returning from abroad shall granted an exceptional leave for a period of 15 days.

  • employees subject to the provisions of this decree shall not attend any trainings or workshops during the enforcement of the present decree.

  • All units of State administrative bodies, public sector companies and public business sector shall take the necessary procedures to disinfect, clean and sanitize workplaces according to the instruction of the Ministry of Health.

  • Exceptional leaves granted under this decree shall be paid in full.

This decree was subject to an extension by Prime Minister Decree No. 852 of 2020 dated 8 April 2020 followed by Prime Minister Decree No. 939 of 2020, dated 23 April 2020.

The above measures has been extended by Prime Minister Decree No. 1024 of 2020, dated 8 May 2020 then PM Decree No. 1069 of 2020 dated 19 May 2020, and lastly PM Decree No. 1196 of 2020.

On 24 June 2020, the PM stated that each competent ministries or governorates shall determine the needed work force and hours as they deem necessary to serve the public, according the PM Decree No. 1246 of 2020, dated 24 June 2020.

1.5 Lockdown

Schools, Universities, and Nurseries

From 14 March, 2020: Suspension of all educational institutions till date.

[Prime Minister Decree No. 717 of 2020 dated 14 March 2020, as amended by Prime Minister Decree No. 939 of 2020, dated 23 April 2020, Article 8, renewed by PM Decree No. 1246 of 2020, dated 24 June 2020, except for nurseries, being currently in discussion by the Minister of Social Solidarity].

On 16 July 2020, the Minister of Education announced that 17 October 2020 will be the beginning of the new academic year.

Suspension of Leisure Activities

From 17 March 2020: full suspension of all cinemas and theaters until further notice.

[PM Decree No. 724 of 2020, dated 17 March 2020 as amended by PM Decree No. 939 of 2020, dated 23 April 2020, Article 11]

The suspension of cinemas and theatres has been lifted by PM Decree No. 1246 of 2020 dated 24 June 2020 in accordance with the conditions provided under the Introduction section above.

Sports Clubs and Youth Centers

On 24 March 2020: Total lock-down to all sports clubs and youths centres

[PM Decree No. 768 of 2020, dated 24 March 2020 as amended by PM Decree No. 939 of 2020, dated 23 April 2020, Article 7]

All the previous precautionary measures has been extended by PM Decree No. 852 of 2020 dated 8 April 2020 followed by PM Decree No. 939 of 2020, dated 23 April 2020.

The above measures has been extended by Prime Minister Decree No. 1024 of 2020, dated 8 May 2020, and then PM Decree No. 1069 of 2020 dated 19 May 2020.

As mentioned in the Introduction, the above measures has been determined in the PM Decree No. 1196 of 2020 that provided for the partial re-opening of sports clubs and youths centers early July 2020.

The Suspension of sports clubs and youth centers has been lifted by PM Decree No. 1246 of 2020 dated 24 June 2020 in accordance with the conditions provided under the Introduction section above.

1.6 Shareholder's meetings and other meetings of companies

As a precautionary measure against Covid-19, the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones issued Decree No. 160 of 2020 allowing the Board of Directors' meetings to be held through modern communication technologies, either visually or by audio, and considering such way of communication and convening meetings as equivalent to physical attendance.


1.7 Supply of essential medical goods

In order to keep a sufficient amount of essential medical goods, the Ministry of Trade and Industry suspended the export of alcohol, legumes and face masks. (See Section 1.3 above)



1.8 Open Businesses, Industries and allowed Gatherings

The most recent decree of the Prime Minister decrees is Decree No. 939 dated 23 April 2020, which amended the national curfew to be from 9 pm to 6 am prohibiting by which, citizens all over Egypt from transportation on all roads, until 08/05/2020, with an exception of the following industries according to Article (4):

The following are exempted from the curfew hours:-

  • All petroleum materials' supply trucks, subject to either local distribution or exportation

  • Parcels and production requirements

  • Emergency cars

  • Factories and warehouses employees transportation buses

  • Medical supply trucks

  • Bakery shops

  • Mini markets and Supermarkets

  • Pharmacies (located outside malls)

  • All licensed construction sites

  • Ports

  • Hospitals- Medical Centres- Labs

  • Storage and customs lockers

  • Gas station, gas supply trucks and quick maintenance services in gas stations

  • All media services

  • Electricity, gas and, water emergencies

  • Internet services

  • Online shopping applications

  • ATM cards

  • Custom clearance

  • Food and beverage delivery

On 24 June 2020, the above restrictions and exemptions has been lifted by PM Decree No. 1246 of 2020.

1.9 Affected Sectors

The Ministry of Finance has taken several precautionary measures to support the affected sectors from the exceptional circumstances resulted from the Covid-19.

In addition to Section 1.1 above regarding the allocation of EGP 3.8 Billion to the Ministry of Health and its affiliates from public hospitals and medical centers, the Ministry of Finance has also launched an initiative for irregular workers for 3 months in cooperation with the Ministry of Manpower. The initiative secured an EGP 500 to be paid for a period of 3 months for all irregular workers

The Ministry of Finance also:-

  • postponed the due date of the payment or installments of the real estate taxes for the affected sectors for 3 months without a return for delay.

  • Waived real estate tax on hotels and touristic establishments for 6 months, and postponing all dues for 3 months without fines or delay interest.

  • Allowing all affected sectors to submit income declaration until 30 June 2020. They can also pay on three installments without a return for delay.

  • Issue a back-up loan for the aviation sector with a grace period of two years.

Above all, the Ministry restricted the benefit from all these facilities, no cut down of employees is allowed in the affected sectors.

<http://www.mof.gov.eg/Arabic/MOFNews/Media/Pages/release7_1-4-2020.aspx>

The Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority has initiated a package of measures to facilitate to the affected clients of the micro-finance activity, and work on the safety and stability of the activity to maintain the stability of financing 3.2 million projects for citizens with small income.

Besides postponing the due debts of the affected clients in the micro-finance including reducing or posting the value of the installments due from the clients equivalent to 50% of the value of each installment, and that allows the financing authorities to cover the costs and burdens of financing obtained by the micro-finance agencies from various funding sources such as banks, and the MSMEs development body.

Upon the direction of the Egyptian President, the Ministry of Health proposed a 30% payment of the entitlements owed to the exporters from the exporters support fund with a minimum of EGP 5 million for each.

http://www.mof.gov.eg/Arabic/MOFNews/Media/Pages/release7-4-2020.aspx

1.10 State of Emergency

As mentioned in the Introduction, the President of the State has declared the state of emergency all over the Country for 3 months starting 28 April 2020.

In light of that, the Egyptian Parliament passed Law No. 22 of 2020, dated 6 May 2020 amending some provisions of Law No. 162 of 1958 regarding the State of Emergency. The amended provisions of the new law is drafted in a manner consistent with the current Corona outbreak in Egypt. The new Law added new provisions regarding the precautionary measures adopted by the Egyptian State, some of these provisions are:-

· Partial or full suspension of schools, universities, institutions and other educational facilities or any students’ gathering, considering the necessary measures for exams.

· Partial or full suspension of ministries and governmental authorities for a certain period as well as the local units, public sector companies, companies owned by the State, and private sector companies.

· Postponing the due payments for electricity, gas and water, partially or in full, or to be paid on installments.

· Extending the deadlines for submitting the tax declarations or the payments of the due taxes, in full or partially, for no more than 3 months, to be renewed for a similar period.

· Partial or full waiver to due fees in return of the utilization of public monies and services provided by the government or any of its affiliates.

· Prohibition of social gatherings, and restricting the private gatherings.

· Compulsory quarantine to anyone coming from outside the country according to the health measures prescribed by the competent authorities.

· Prohibition of exporting some goods and products outside the country.

· Determining the prices of some goods, services and products.

· Determining a method to collect financial or material charity to fight the emergency state.

· Allocating financial and material assistance to families and individuals.

· Providing the necessary support for therapeutic researches.

· All or some hospitals and medical institutions shall work in full force under the supervision of the administrative authority determined by the President of the state.

· Inspection over the scientific and research laboratories.

· Allocation of financial support to the affected sectors.

· Allocation of some schools and youths’ centers or other places owned by the state to be used as a temporary civil hospitals.

Some of the above restrictions has been lifted and some has been amended according the PM Decree No. 1246 of 2020, dated 24 June 2020. [See Introduction Section]

On 21 July 2020, the President of the Republic declared the extension of the State of Emergency in the Country for another 3 months to start from 27 July 2020, in accordance with Law No. 162 of 1958 regarding the State of Emergency and the most recent Decree of the PM No. 1469 of 2020 dated 25 July 2020.

[President of the Republic Decree No. 391 dated 21 July 2020]

1.11 Sanctions

Violations of Decrees and Resolutions issued by Governmental entities regarding fighting the Corona Virus outbreak can be sanctioned with fines, detention, imprisonment, or even sometimes it is considered a crime. Each Decree and Resolution includes the relevant sanction section according to each topic.

2. SUPPORT OF SPECIFIC SECTORS

2.1 Legal basis

Overview

The Council of Ministries intervened to protect the citizens from the over prices of medical supplies needed to fight Covid-19 imposed by some traders by issuing Decree No. 17 of 2020, dated 15 April 2020.


2.2 Support measures

The Prime Minister Decree issued No. 17 of 2020, dated 15 April 2020 in accordance with Article 8 of Consumer Protection Law No. 181 of 2018, to support the citizens and protect them against exaggerated prices, prohibited all sellers, suppliers and distributors from selling ethyl alcohol and gel alcohol (with different concentration) with retail prices. The Decree included a price list for selling alcohol (with different concentration), face masks, and latex gloves that should be applicable to all sellers.


3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

3.1 Legal basis

In the state's interest in the safety and health of its citizens, the Ministry of Justice coordinated with the presidents of the Court of Cassation, Supreme Court and the Council of State, the Attorney General and the Messrs. of the Courts of Appeal and the First Instance Courts to take all legal precautionary measures to defeat Covid-19 by recommending the postponement of the hearings scheduled before the courts in the following two weeks. http://www.jp.gov.eg/ar/2492.aspx.

In accordande with the Prime Minister Decree No. 939 of 2020, dated 23 April 2020 amended by Prime Minister Minister Decree No. 1024 of 2020, dated 8 May 2020, the Minister of Justice decided to re-open some of the Notary Public Services as of 26 April 2020, such as:

  • Official Lease Contracts (proving the date)

  • Authorising Commercial Books

  • Record for depositing a will (closed)

  • Record for opening a will (closed)

  • Power of Attorney (pension disbursement)

  • Declarations

The Judicial Inspection Unit has issued a directive to the Egyptian Court of First Instance to be prepared to resume work on 13 June 2020 considering all precautionary measures imposed by the State. Some of these measures are measures are:

- Masks are obligatory inside Courtrooms for all people,

- Number of litigants should correspond the number of available Courtrooms.

On the other hand, the Court of Appeal has already resumed work on 1 July 2020 upon the Supreme Judicial Council’s Decision No. 159 of 2020, dated 13 May 2020.

3.2 Measures

State Council

The State Council issued Decree No. 206 of 2020 dated 15 March 2020 suspending all Administrative hearing sessions (Courts and Commissioners). This Decree has been extended by Decree No. 252 of 2020 dated 12 April 2020.

In light to the Government’s steps to ease down the restrictions imposed on all governmental authorities to resume serving the people, the Secretary General of the State Council issued a letter on 19 May 2020 to all Administrative Courts and the State Council’s employees to resume all administrative work.

4. DEBT COLLECTION

4.1 Legal basis

The Central Bank of Egypt adopted several measures to contain Covid-19 crisis and limit its negative externalities on the Egyptian economy.

4.2 Measures

The Central Bank of Egypt ("CBE") has taken several measures regarding the debt collection from juristic and natural persons.

On 15 March 2020, CBE introduced a circular to counter the effects of Covid-19 by providing a number of instructions for the banks to abide by, including spreading awareness and maintaining the necessary level of hygiene. The circular requires the banks, for ease of banking services, to: (1) postpone the credit dues for medium, small and micro-enterprises ("MSMEs"); (2) increase the daily credit limits; (3) cancel any fee or commission for ATM transactions and E wallets; (4) cancel any fee or commission imposed on bank transfer transactions, for a period of 6 months.

On 16 March 2020, the CBE issued another circular for the banks' customers who failed to make full and timely payments of their debts and installments by providing the waiver of all current court cases filed by these banks against their customers, provided that the parties of the dispute amicably settle the payment method in this respect.

On 22 March 2020 , the CBE issued an explanatory memorandum with respect to the postponement of credit installments for a period of 6 months. The explanatory memorandum provides the postponement of the credit installments to all banks' customers, including those who regularly pay their dues and those who fail to make full and timely payment. The banks' customers may be either enterprises or natural person, for instance, financial leasing companies, real estate leasing companies, factoring companies and MSMEs.

On 16 April 2020 , the CBE issued another circular with respect to the method of repayment of interest calculated during the period of the postponement of the credit installments. In this respect, the interest shall be calculated over the 6 months postponement period, to be paid accordingly with the amount due after said period and in accordance with the clients' ability to pay.

5. AIR TRAFFIC

5.1 Legal basis

EGYPTAIR

In light of the resolution issued to extend flight suspension to and from the Egyptian airports until further notice (Prime Minister decrees Decree

No. 1024 of 2020, dated 8 May 2020) for international flights as part of the measures taken to control the spread of the COVID-19. In light of the unprecedented conditions, EGYPTAIR has issued regulations for the change or refund of international tickets for individuals as of March 26th, 2020. [See section 5.2 below]

The above measures were adopted by the virtue of PM Decree No. 1196 of 2020.

On 23 June 2020, Egypt Air announced its return to the sky starting 1 July 2020. During the first week of July. Egypt Air will start to operate to 13 cities in Europe, 4 cities in the Middle East and 3 destinations to North America.

<https://www.egyptair.com/en/about-egyptair/news-and-press/Pages/EGYPTAIR is back to the Sky as of 01July 2020.aspx>



5.2 Measures

The regulations issued by EGYPTAIR as part of the measures taken to control the spread of the COVID-19 for the change or refund of international tickets for individuals as of March 26th, 2020

  • In case of customers who wish to change the dates of their international tickets issued on the suspended flights from March 19th 2020 till the end of the suspension period, change is permitted only once on the same itinerary (route) without additional fees once EGYPTAIR resumes its flights. Consequently, the tickets shall be considered as valid for one year starting from the new travel date. In the event that the customer wishes to make any more changes, the applicable rules and conditions shall be applied according to the change fees for every ticket separately.

  • In case of customers who wish to refund their tickets issued on the suspended international flights from March 19th, 2020 till the end of the suspension period, the ticket amount shall be refunded in the form of E-voucher except for some non-refundable taxes. This voucher can be used as air tickets for the passenger or any of his first-degree relatives. OR, customers can refund their tickets in cash or in the payment method used by the customer, after the resumption of EGYPTAIR flights any time within 3 years.

  • For new international travel tickets issued until 30/6/2020, these tickets shall be exempted from the change fees, while any other applicable fees shall be incurred at the time of the change.

<www.egyptair.com/en/about-egyptair/news-and press/Pages/EGYPTAIR%20Refund%20%20Change%20Reservation%20Policy.aspx >

On 6 August 2020, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced a decision banning the entry to Egypt without evidence of conducting a PCR analysis with a negative result, to detect the emerging Corona Virus, at most 72 hours before reaching Egyptian territory.
This decision applies to foreigners only (non-holders of Egyptian nationality).
The decision will be implemented as of 15 August 2020.
The decision provides for certain exclusions, namely: Arab and foreign tourists with direct flights Sharm El Sheikh, Taba, Hurghada, Marsa Alam and Matrouh airports, as well as (transit passengers) to those airports.

[PM Decree No. 1567 of 2020 dated 6 August 2020]

5.3 Cairo International Airport (CIA")

While the international flights are still suspended until further notice, the CAI started installing thermal scanners to detect cases of the Coronavirus for passengers upon arrival. This technology has grown exponentially over the past few months on a global scale to help contain the spread of the virus.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation will continue operating incoming flights to ensure the return of stranded Egyptians.

All passengers coming back to Egypt are required to spend 14 days in isolation, in accordance with the WHO’s Covid-19 guidelines.

The Ministry of Aviation in cooperation with the Ministry of Health are preparing the start of operating the internal flights in accordance with the precautionary measures taken by the Egyptian state and the WHO.

http://www.civilaviation.gov.eg/news/get/364

In light of the recent decree issued by the PM No. 1246 of 2020 dated 24 June 2020, the CIA is getting ready to operate international flights with some special regulations related to tourism. (See Section 9 below) (also see Section 5.2 above)

6. CONSTRUCTION

6.1 Measures

National and important construction projects are generally continuing subject to a reduction in the work force and implementing health precautions to reduce the risk of infection.

Further precautionary measure has been taken by the Governor of Cairo, which issued Decree No.2945 of 2020 suspending the issuance of construction licenses in Cairo for a period of 6 months, save for national projects and projects of public-interest.

Cairo Governor Decree No. 2945 of 2020, dated 16 April 2020.

On 21 May 2020, the Minister of Local Development issued Decision No. 181 od 2020 providing for the suspension of the issuance of construction licenses in greater Cairo, Alexandria and big cities for 6 months.

[The Minister of Local Development Decision No. 181 of 2020, dated 21 May 2020].

7. EGYPTIAN TAX AUTHORITY

7.1 Legal Basis

The Egyptian Tax Authority in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance has followed all Governmental precautionary measures regarding the prohibition of crowds. Since this time of the year is the submission of the tax declarations which always results in huge gatherings from the Tax-funders. Accordingly, the Tax Authority issued the following initiative: (Section below 7.2)

7.2 Measures

The Head of the Egyptian Tax Authority, announced the approval of the Minister of Finance, to cancel the fees of the electronic system for natural funders only this year to encourage them to submit their tax declarations electronically, explaining that this comes in light of the commitment of both the Ministry of Finance and the Egyptian Tax Authority to all precautionary measures taken by the State to reduce congestion and reduce clusters in closed workplaces, and to preserve the health of funders, accountants and employees of the authority, and to limit the spread of the Covid-19.

<https://www.incometax.gov.eg/news-d.php?id=53>

8. DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN INVESTMENT

8.1 Legal Basis

The Ministry of Finance has taken an additional incentives to encourage domestic and foreign investments in the Egyptian Capital Market in light of the governmental precautionary measures to fight Covid-19 and to support those who may encounter any difficulties.

8.2 Measures

Incentives taken by the Ministry of Finance based on the Egyptian President's directions to encourage the domestic and foreign investment:-

  • The final exemption of foreigners from capital gain taxes and postponing the application of taxes with respect to residents until the beginning of 2022.

  • Stamp duty tax has been amended to 1.25 per thousand instead of 1.5 per thousand for non-residents ... and a half per thousand instead of 1.5 per thousand for Egyptians.

  • Full exemption from stamp duty tax for immediate transactions to stimulate daily transactions.

  • Decreasing the tax on profit by 50% to 5% on all listed companies in the stock exchange.

  • Reducing all expenses of the “Stock exchange”, “Misr for Central Clearing”, “Financial Regulatory Authority” and the “Investor Protection” fund.

<http://www.mof.gov.eg/Arabic/MOFNews/Media/Pages/release18-3-2020.aspx>


9. Tourism

9.1 Legal Basis

In light of the Government’s recent decree and measures taken by different competent authorities, and since the CIA is getting ready to operate international flights, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities said during a press conference held on 24 June 2020 that touristic sites across the country will be allowed to open up gradually for foreigners starting July 1st, with a 20% discount on tickets offered to travelers of Egyptian airlines.

Since the occupancy of the hotels and resorts has been increased to 50% earlier this month, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities announced set of precautions to be adopted before resuming tourists’ trips, including obligating tourism agencies to provide their clients with protective face masks.

The Minister further provided that any tourist group should consist of no more than 25 people until further notice.