RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Families rushed to buy sweets and biscuits in Cairo on Friday as they prepared to celebrate the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan under a tightened coronavirus curfew and lockdown.
The Eid al-Fitrs festivities are usually a time of release when people pack the streets and visits families, cafes and restaurants.
But this year, authorities are bringing forward the start of the existing coronavirus curfew by four hours to 5 p.m. and banning all public transport for six days from Sunday as they try to contain the pandemic.
Shoppers, many wearing masks, said celebrations will be much quitter – restrictions had already made it difficult for families to meet for fast-breaking at sunset during Ramadan.
‘We will not see our siblings, loved ones and friends’, said Hoda Mahnoud, 53, standing outside a shop with a bag of biscuits.
‘We used to go out and have fun at cafes, but now we are being careful, taking care of ourselves’.
Egypt confirmed 745 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, the highest daily increase yet.
‘There is an evening curfew and everyone’s errands are now in the morning’, said Ali Mohamed, a 26-year-old civil engineer. At night, he added, ‘we all disapperar’.
The timing of Eid Al-Fitr depends on the sighting of the moon but it is widely expected to start on Sunday.
Shops, restaurants, parks and beaches will also be closed for the holiday, which has been extended from three to six under the coronavirus measures.