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Egypt will not reinstate lockdown if second wave of COVID-19 hits: Health minister

Egypt has so far recorded 104,648 coronavirus cases, 6,062 deaths, and 97,743 recoveries, with relatively few daily numbers reported over the past two months

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Oct 2020
Hala Zayed
Egypt's Minister of Health Hala Zayed
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Egypt will not be reinstating a full or partial lockdown if coronavirus infections surge once again, Egypt's Health Minister Hala Zayed told the 67th session of the World Health Organisation Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean Tuesday.

"This is the lesson we learned from the first wave; that countries should not resort to this strategy the way they did during the first wave, but should rather respond to surges in cases within localised [population] clusters," Zayed said.

"However, all [precautionary] health measures will remain in place in the upcoming period," Zayed assured.

Egypt has so far recorded 104,648 coronavirus cases, 6,062 deaths, and 97,743 recoveries, with relatively few daily numbers reported over the past two months.

Egypt has moved towards a gradual reopening of its economy since late June, lifting some of its anti-virus restrictions, including a nighttime curfew, reopening restaurants and places of worship, and resuming regular international flights as part of a plan to coexist with the virus.

However, Egyptian officials have been advising caution in anticipation of any spike, especially with the resurgence of the virus in many European countries.

Minister Zayed said that all countries will be more prepared to face a second wave in owing to the experience gained over the past few months, adding that Egypt is already preparing for a possible second wave.

Zayed explained that the home isolation strategy adopted in 85 percent of mild cases has led to the quick recovery of these patients.

The capacity of the coronavirus hotline launched by the Egyptian health ministry to respond to relevant inquiries has been upgraded, she said.

The Egyptian government has also formed a crisis management committee linked to the country's 27 governorates.

Egypt has also established a strategic reserve of medicines and medical supplies and prepared 320 general hospitals to work side by side with 85 pulmonology hospitals and 19 isolation hospitals to treat coronavirus cases, she noted.

Other measures have been taken such as requiring all those arriving in the country at any port of entry to present a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) lab test result certificate for the coronavirus.

Egypt has also agreed with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations to receive 20 percent of its requirements for a coronavirus vaccine, she noted.

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