People wearing face masks walk on a street in Cairo, Egypt, on June 12, 2020. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

The Egyptian government on Thursday decided to postpone the first-term exams in all schools including universities until after the mid-year vacation over concerns of a second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The new measures have been taken to protect the health and safety of all educational workers including students, teachers and other staff,” the government said in a statement.

The mid-year vacation is scheduled to start from Jan. 16 and run until Feb. 20, according to an instruction by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The classes should continue remotely from home during the coming two weeks starting Jan. 2, and the exams of the grade 10 and 11 of high school would go online, the presidential instruction said.

Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, spokesman of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, told Xinhua that the decisions aim at cancelling the in-class education while maintaining the learning process.

The decisions, however, are subject to renewal depending on the health conditions in the country, said Magda Nasr, a member of the Education, Scientific Research Committee in the Parliament.

The decisions wouldn’t impose any negative impact on the educational process with the availability of alternatives such as electronic platforms and educational channels, she noted.

On Dec. 20, the Egyptian ministry of education decided that school attendance could be optional for students for the rest of the term.

Egypt reported 1,411 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, raising the total tally in the North African country to 136,644, with a death toll of 7,576. Meanwhile, assistant Health Minister Noha Assem said Egypt has officially entered the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic after a rapid rise in cases over the past month.

On Sunday, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly ordered the cancellation of all New Year celebrations, urging authorities to strictly enforce the mask mandate that applies to all public transportation and indoor public spaces.

Madbouly ordered an on-spot fine of 50 Egyptian pounds (3.18 U.S. dollars) for all violators who do not apply the precautionary measures and do not wear face masks starting Jan. 3.

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Xinhua News Agency, Xinhuanet is an important central news service-oriented website, an important information organ of the central government, and an important platform for building up China's online international communication capacity. Established on November 7, 1997, as an online news provider of the Xinhua News Agency, it was officially named Xinhuanet on March 10, 2000 and began around-the-clock news release with leading online public opinion at home and setting a good image of China abroad as its main task.


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