- Title: Egypt offers reusable face masks in state subsidy scheme
- Date: 16th July 2020
- Summary: CAIRO, EGYPT (JULY 13, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF GROCERY SHOP SELLING SUBSIDISED GOODS PEOPLE AT GROCERY SHOP MASKS ON TABLE CUSTOMER PUTTING ON NEW MASK CUSTOMER TALKING TO WORKER WORKER AT SHOP / PILE OF SUBSIDISED MASKS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF SUPPLIES COMMITTEE AT COMMERCE CHAMBER, HESHAM EL-DEGLI, SAYING: "The mask is now subsidised. It is priced at 8.5 Egyptian pounds ($0.53), but the citizen does not pay money for it. This price is only for the dealings among the commercial stores, the Egyptian company and the government. Just so we know how much product we bought and how much we sold. But the citizen takes it for free." WORKER ADJUSTING ITEMS ON SHELF PRICE TAG READING (Arabic): "Mask, 8.50" VARIOUS OF CUSTOMER AT SHOP CUSTOMERS WALKING IN STORE CUSTOMER HOLDING PACK OF MASKS TAREK, CUSTOMER, AND HIS WIFE AT GROCERY SHOP VARIOUS OF TAREK AND HIS WIFE READING INSTRUCTIONS ON MASK (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CUSTOMER BUYING SUBSIDISED MASKS, TAREK, SAYING: "It is something wonderful of course. All ministries are cooperating to help the citizen, to stop infections and things like that." VARIOUS OF CUSTOMER CHECKING MASK (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CUSTOMER BUYING SUBSIDISED MASKS, TAREK, SAYING: "I am prepared to leave a kilo of (subsidised) rice or a sugar in order to take a mask (instead), because this is protection for all of us." VARIOUS OF MAN CHECKING MASKS ON SHELF (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EMPLOYEE AT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, HESHAM MOHAMED, SAYING: "Of course, the difference is that outside, it is 20 Egyptian pounds ($1.25). Here, it is 8 Egyptian pounds ($0.50). There is a huge difference. Outside, they are traders. But here, with the supply ministry, everything is available and cheap, for everyone." SIGN READING (Arabic/English): "Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MINISTRY OF SUPPLY AND INTERNAL TRADE SPOKESMAN, AHMED KAMAL, SAYING: "There was (an opportunity) to use the supply outlets and the presence of supply cards with 22 million families to offer the masks. The mask is on the card, and it is optional for the citizen. We have 19 items, which the citizen has the right to choose from throughout the month. We added a new item, the mask, which is a long lasting mask made of fabric." VARIOUS OF CUSTOMERS BUYING SUBSIDISED GOODS GROCER SELLING SUBSIDISED ITEMS MASKS ON SHELF
- Embargoed: 30th July 2020 10:08
- Keywords: Coronavirus Egypt Health Masks Supply Supply cards
- Location: CAIRO, EGYPT
- City: CAIRO, EGYPT
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001CN27HW7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Egypt has started offering reusable cotton face masks at around $50 cents each alongside the food items provided in its state subsidy programme, as it seeks to make protective gear more widely available to curb the coronavirus.
Egypt subsidises items such as bread, rice and sugar for more than 60 million people and has added masks to its list of essential goods, with a limit of 2 per family.
"There was (an opportunity) to use supply outlets and the presence of supply cards with 22 million families to offer the masks," said supply ministry spokesman Ahmed Kamal.
He added that authorities aim to distribute 19 million masks by the end of July.
Egypt's state buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, better known for importing huge tonnages of wheat bought on international markets, was tasked with procuring the masks from local suppliers, including the military production ministry.
An initial 40 million masks, vetted for safety, will be made available between July and August but authorities plan to increase the amount later, Kamal said.
In May, Egypt announced fines of about $250 for people not wearing masks in public.
"I am prepared to leave a kilo of (subsidised) rice or sugar, and take a mask (instead), because this is protection for all of us," said Tarek, a Cairo citizen who gave only his first name as he stood outside a grocer selling subsidised items.
Egypt has so far registered 83,000 coronavirus cases including 3,935 deaths.
(Production: Sayed Sheasha, Nadeen Ebrahim)
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