Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Friday that Egypt’s goal at this stage in the fight against the coronavirus is to decrease the rate of infection, but the situation might get out of hand in case of a large outbreak.
In a phone call with MBC Masr TV channel, Minister Zayed asserted that the state is in control of the epidemic so far; however, if people do not commit to social distancing and self-quarantine, the situation could deteriorate.
Zayed cited the remarks made by head of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom regarding the correct measures that states should adopt to avoid outbreaks.
Besides social distancing and shutting down places where people congregate in large numbers, tracking the contagion is essential to combating the virus, and it makes the difference between countries with an average number of cases and those with explosive outbreaks, Zayed explained
“Until this moment, we have been successful in tracking the contacts of every case; however, if [people don’t commit to social distancing], it is going to be very dangerous”
“If the cases exceed 1,000, it will be hard to track the origin of each case,” the minister said, urging people not to take the situation lightly in order to avoid a surge in the number of cases.
She called on people to avoid gatherings, especially religious gatherings that involve large crowds.
Zayed assured that the state is fully equipped when she was asked about the availability of intensive care units, medical masks, and ventilators.
She added, however, that in the case of an explosive outbreak like those witnessed in some European countries, no resources will be enough.
According to Zayed, the ministry has succeeded in treating some of the cases using medications available in the country.
“The ministry has a scientific committee of health ministry consultants and from Egyptian universities that have approved treatment protocols.”
“The medications are approved based on an ‘evidence-based’ approach, and they have succeeded in improving the condition of some cases.”
She gave an example of an Egyptian man who arrived from Serbia whose condition was severe and is now stable after using the committee-approved medications.
Zayed called on people to seek medical care if they develop COVID-19 symptoms, and that they should not wait until their condition deteriorates.
She also urged people to be careful on Mother’s Day (21 March), since elderly people are more at risk from the virus.
On Friday, Egypt reported one new death, bringing the number of victims to eight, and announced that 29 new cases have been detected, bringing the total to 285 cases nationwide.