CAIRO (Reuters) – A ban on public sector employees entering their offices if they are unvaccinated and untested for COVID-19 took effect in Egypt on Monday as the government pushes to accelerate vaccination rates in the final weeks of the year.
Public university students are also barred from campuses if not vaccinated, according to government rules. Those public employees who are unvaccinated need to submit a PCR test weekly.
Public sector employees contacted by Reuters said the rule was being enforced in at least some offices on Monday. Some employees were scrambling to get vaccines in order to report for work though others were still working from home, they said.
Queues formed at entrances to some state universities and government entities as students and employees waited to show proof of vaccination.
More than 14 million people in Egypt have had two vaccine doses and nearly 27 million have had one, Acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said on Saturday. The government has set a target of vaccinating 40% of Egypt’s population of just over 100 million by the end of this year.
From Dec. 1, members of the public will be unable to enter government offices without proof of at least one vaccine dose, according to official statements.
The Finance Ministry on Monday that there was an “open budget” for combating COVID-19 and expanding vaccinations.
Egypt has received millions of vaccines through the global COVAX facility and bilateral donations, and is assembling China’s Sinovac vaccine locally. On Sunday the government said it was starting clinical trials on an Egypt-developed vaccine named Covi Vax.
(Reporting by Sarah El Safty and Ahmed Fahmy; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Giles Elgood)