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Egypt has decided to allow funeral prayers inside large mosques that are authorised to hold the weekly Friday prayers, under anti-coronavirus precautionary measures, for the first time since the start of the pandemic early last year.

The government announced the decision during a meeting of the Supreme Committee for the Management of the Coronavirus Crisis headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Mabdouly on Monday.

The decision was issued in accordance with a request by the Ministry of Religious Endowments, a Cabinet statement read.

Egypt closed mosques for few months in 2020, and later allowed open-air funeral prayers only in mosques that have courtyards.

Starting this month, Egypt is barring unvaccinated people from entering government institutions, and starting last month, unvaccinated state employees are no longer allowed into their workplaces without presenting negative PCR tests.  

Implementing WHO guidelines to face Omicron

Egypt is working to implement all the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to face the new coronavirus variant Omicron and prevent it from spreading, acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said during the meeting on Monday.

Receiving the vaccine remains necessary to face the new variant and limit its impact, Abdel-Ghaffar said.

The WHO has reiterated that the Omicron variant can be detected with a PCR test and that the variant is spreading more among those who are not vaccinated, Abdel-Ghaffar said.

Although Egypt has repeatedly affirmed that it has not yet detected any Omicron case, Canada and Kazakhstan have announced the suspension of flights to the country over Omicron fears.

Qatar has also been imposing a seven-day hotel quarantine period on fully vaccinated travellers with pre-approved and on-arrival visas arriving from Egypt since 26 November.

Switzerland, on the other hand, has revoked a 10-day quarantine requirement for travellers from all countries on its quarantine list – Egypt, Malawi, the UK, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands – starting Saturday.

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