Egypt reported on Friday its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases and deaths with 120 new cases and eight fatalities, bringing it closer to 1,000 infections as authorities warn of a more rapid spread of the contagion.
The country's health ministry said in a statement that the total number of COVID-19 cases has now reached 985 nationwide, while the death toll stands at 66.
Health minister Hala Zayed previously said it would be hard to track the origin of each case if infections climbed to 1,000 too soon.
The ministry added that 15 Egyptians have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals on Friday, which brings the total number of recoveries from the virus so far to 216.
The number of cases whose test results have turned from positive to negative, including the recoveries, has now reached 296.
The newly detected cases include three foreigners and 117 Egyptians, who either have recently returned from abroad or have been in contact with previously announced positive cases, health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed explained.
He added that the eight new deaths include one foreigner and seven Egyptians.
The average daily infection rate in Egypt was between 30 and 40 cases last week, and between 50 and 60 this week, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said on Thursday.
Madbouly expected that next week the average daily increase will range from 60 to 70 cases a day.
He had urged Egyptians on many occasions to comply with the preventive measures, warning of reaching the "dangerous" milestone of 1,000 infections.
On 24 March, Egypt declared a two-week curfew from 7 pm to 6 am, the broadest measure yet taken to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Authorities have warned that those who break the curfew are subject to penalties under the country's emergency law, which range from a fine of EGP 4,000 ($253) to imprisonment.
Egyptian authorities had already halted international flights, banned mass gatherings, shuttered cinemas, mosques and churches and suspended communal prayers.