Online cultural events entertain quarantined Egyptians

Cairo, March 28 (IANS) The Cairo Opera House organised an online concert by famed Egyptian composer and pianist Omar Khairat amid a ban on public gatherings and the closure of theatres and cinemas amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The concert on Thursday was part of the initiative “Khalek fe el-Beit, Thaqafa ben eadeak”, which means “Stay Home, Culture in Your Hand”, Xinhua news agency said in a report on Saturday.


Earlier this week, the Egyptian Culture Ministry had announced that it would begin broadcasting concerts, ballets, plays and films from the ministry's archives on its YouTube channel and social media accounts to encourage Egyptians to stay at home during the pandemic.

“The streaming shows starting on Tuesday have drawn more than 1 million viewers,” Mohamed Moneer, media spokesman of the opera house, told Xinhua.

A total of 488,444 persons were recorded in the first moment of Khairat's concert which was also attended by four Egyptian famous singers, he said.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly suspended live performance on March 17 as part of anti-coronavorus measures.

In a statement last week, Culture Minister Enas Abdel Dayem said such online shows would allow the world to see Egyptian talents.

“It also represents one of the steps of the digital transformation that the ministry seeks to implement,” the Minister added.

Similar moves have been taken by popular bands and singers, as a growing number of artists have turned to the Internet to broadcast their performances and concerts for people at home.

Massar Egbari, a band famous among young people, has gone with the tide by performing on its Youtube channel and its Facebook page.

“The show was completely free for the public to avoid additional financial burden for the people staying at home,” said Omar Sami, the band's manager.

The Health Ministry said on Friday that the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached 536 with 30 deaths.

A nationwide curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. has been enforced since Wednesday.

The government has also suspended international flights, closed down schools and universities, halted public entertainment activities and mass prayers, and reduced the number of employees working at state institutions.