Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has extended the country’s nationwide state of emergency by three months, starting Sunday.
This decision was published in Sunday’s issue of the official Egyptian gazette. The decree cited “dangerous” health and security circumstances.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Population reported 912 new infections with COVID-19, and 39 new deaths. The total tally of cases has now reached 221,570, including 166,457 that have recovered and 12,998 deaths.
This is the fifteenth time the state of emergency has been renewed since it was first declared on April 10, 2017 after the bombing of two Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria left approximately 45 people dead.
Under emergency law, the Egyptian armed forces and police can take any necessary measures to confront terrorism and its financing, maintain security throughout the country, and protect public and private properties.
The Egyptian government has previously stated that it is committed to the use of exceptional measures only when such measures maintain a balance between the protection of public freedoms and the necessities of national security.
According to Egypt’s emergency law the president can restrict freedom of assembly, movement, and residency in the country.
The powers of law enforcement are also greatly broadened, and citizens can be arrested detained for extended periods of time if they are deemed a threat to national security.
Censorship is legalized under a state of emergency, and the government can, in the name of security, shut down media outlets.
The state of emergency must be approved by a majority vote in Egypt’s House of Representatives within a week of its declaration.