Egypt’s health ministry announced 86 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest daily increase so far, bringing the total to 865, as well as six new fatalities, giving a total death toll of 58.
Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said that all the fatalities were Egyptian citizens.
The 86 new coronavirus patients are also all Egyptians, and include some recent returnees from abroad and others who had come into contact with previously detected cases.
The spokesman said that 22 more cases – all Egyptians except for one German national -- have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals on Thursday.
The number of people who have subsequently tested negative for the virus has risen to 282, of whom 201 have fully recovered and been discharged from hospitals, Megahed said.
Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly that the country has not reached the dangerous third phase yet, and urged people to stay at home.
According to the prime minister, the rates are not alarming, as Egypt is still seeing a natural, gradual curve in the spread of the virus.
The first coronavirus case in Egypt was discovered in mid-February, almost two months after the virus first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Madbouly stressed the upcoming week is “important” in terms of committing to self-distancing and preventive measures among citizens.
Health Minister Hala Zayed also said that the numbers of cases in Egypt are reassuring compared with some countries in the Middle East and some other countries with coronavirus clusters.
“The average number of infections in Egypt is seven cases per one million citizens and the fatality rate stands at 0.4 per one million citizens,” the minister said, adding that the average number of cases in some Middle Eastern countries ranged between 17 to 500 per one million, while the average number of fatalities ranged between 1 to 36 per one million.
The minister added that the average number of infections in clustered countries exceeds 2,000 cases and 200 fatalities per one million citizens, stressing that the increases in the daily case rate in Egypt are still in line with the expected rates for each week.
Zayed said that Egypt still has one of the lowest rates of infection globally in terms of population size.
The increased rate of infections is due to the lack of commitment by some returnees from abroad to a 14-day self-quarantine upon their return to the country, she claimed.
Zayed also urged all citizens nationwide, especially in Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and Damietta governorates, to commit to self-isolation and social distancing, to reduce the number of infections.
Egypt has grounded international flights until mid-April as part of strict measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, but the country has since operated several exceptional flights to bring home nationals stranded overseas, provided that they undergo a 14-day quarantine.
A nationwide curfew is also in effect daily from 7pm to 6am.
Authorities have also shut cinemas, restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs, suspended schools and universities and closed mosques and churches.