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Egyptian Feast for Ramadan

FILE PHOTO: Residents of Ezbet Hamada in Cairo's Mataria district gather to eat Iftar, the meal to end their fast at sunset, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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In the heart of Egypt’s capital, shoppers pack sweet shops and grocery stores to stock up for fast-breaking during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, shrugging off fears about the new coronavirus. Little over a month since Egypt imposed strict measures to counter the virus, social customs and economic pressures are drawing people onto the streets, even as newly reported cases of the coronavirus have continued to rise. The government is running campaigns in newspapers and on billboards to encourage social distancing. It has shut cafes and eat-in service at restaurants and imposed a night-time curfew. But the curfew has prompted a shopping rush during the day when many stock up for fast-breaking, or iftar, at 6.30pm. Customers, some wearing masks, jostled for space, as they did at a nearby grocery store. “People are careful, but this does not stop… us from going out to buy the things that we get every year,” said Ashraf Ali, 52, driver at a telecoms company as he bought pickles.


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