Licences were granted to 70 churches in Egypt on 19 May, as the work on behalf of the committee overseeing the process continued during the coronavirus lockdown.
Churches and mosques remain closed in the country but the authorities eased some lockdown restrictions, including a night-time curfew, before the start of Ramadan on 24 April. Egypt has recorded 13,484 Covid-19 cases and 659 deaths at the time of writing.
The committee’s approval of this 16th batch of licences brings the number of churches granted official recognition to 1,638 out of the original 3,730 that applied for registration.
A total of 2,092 churches are still waiting to be granted licences under the Law for Building and Restoring Churches, introduced in September 2016.
A number of churches were already licensed before the new law was brought in. It is illegal to worship in an unlicensed church building, but until the committee began work in early 2017 it was extremely difficult to obtain a licence.