Egypt detected 488 new coronavirus cases on Saturday as the tally continues to rise despite restrictions during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the health ministry announced.
The health ministry’s announcement brings the total number of infections from the pandemic to 8964 nationwide.
The ministry also reported 11 new fatalities, bringing the total deaths from the virus to 514.
The statement said that 57 cases have been discharged on Saturday from the 17 operating quarantine hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2002 thus far.
Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the number of people whose test results turned from positive to negative, including the 2002 recoveries, has now reached 2476.
Egypt has so far conducted over 1 million coronavirus tests to detect the coronavirus, Presidential Adviser for Health and Prevention Affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din said on Thursday.
While on Saturday, Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) said that the 1 million coronavirus tests mentioned by Tag El-Din include over 105,000 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.
Saturday’s toll comes one day after Egypt detected 495 new infections on Friday, its highest toll in a single day since the first case was detected in the country in mid-February.
Measures applied by the government since mid-March to contain the pandemic include closing schools and universities, mosques and churches and suspending international flights. The cabinet also imposed a curfew, subsequently eased at the beginning of Ramadan to begin at 9pm instead of 8pm.
On Thursday, Egypt extended the night-time curfew, in place since 25 March, until the end of Ramadan, maintaining the current restrictions to stem the spread of the virus in the populous country.
Despite lockdown measures imposed in March to contain the spread of the virus, Egypt had reported more than 8,000 coronavirus cases by Friday 8 May. The first case of COVID-19 in Egypt was confirmed on 14 February, and though it took seven weeks to reach the milestone of 1,000 infections on 4 April, it has taken just three days to move from 7,000 to 8,000 cases.
Health Minister Hala Zayed attributed the recent increases in the number of cases to people’s behaviour outside curfew hours, especially during the two weeks that preceded Ramadan.
According to Zayed, visits to markets decreased by 40 percent immediately after the crisis erupted, but the fall had been reduced to just 11 percent during the two weeks before Ramadan.
However, in recent days, some restrictions have been relaxed. Car licensing sections at traffic departments, real estate registry offices and some court services have now reopened.
Egypt has signalled recently that it is looking to lift some of its heavy restrictions by next month, and has urged people to maintain social distancing and other preventive measures when these changes take place.
Egypt will have to coexist with the coronavirus pandemic starting from June, cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said on Thursday, as the country continues to push forward with efforts to open the economy after the end of Ramadan.