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Monday, 01 March 2021

Egypt bans New Year celebrations, gatherings over coronavirus concerns

Madbouly called for confronting violations of precautionary measures to avoid a lockdown

Mohamed Soliman , Wednesday 23 Dec 2020
Prime Minister
A File photo of Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Health Minister Hala Zayed (Photo courtesy of Egyptian government)
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At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said New Year's Eve celebrations will be banned in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus amid the rising daily infection tolls reported recently nationwide.

Madbouy instructed all concerned authorities to "strictly" confront violations of the precautionary measures to avoid enforcing a lockdown that will bear negative economic repercussions.

"The state will not tolerate any leniency," the PM stressed.

He also called for providing an "adequate" number of isolation hospitals nationwide and liquefied oxygen needed for treating the virus patients.

The country has been recently witnessing a rebound in coronavirus daily cases and deaths after months of reporting low and steady daily tolls.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health recorded 788 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily toll in almost five months, and 37 fatalities, pushing the total infection tally to 127,061 and death toll to 7,167.

In mid-December, Egypt received a 50,000-dose batch of the vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm and is set to receive other batches.

During the cabinet meeting, health Minister Hala Zayed said tests for the coronavirus vaccine are being carried out by the National Authority for Drug Control and Research (NODCAR).

The NODCAR is expected to conclude the tests by next week, according to Zayed.

Zayed added that a website will be launched for people wishing to register to receive the vaccine. Medical staff treating coronavirus patients and people with chronic diseases will be given the priority of vaccination.

The health ministry has determined specific medical units across the country to be responsible for inoculating people with the COVID-19 vaccine, Zayed noted.

Concerning the new coronavirus variant discovered in the UK, Zayed asserted that there is no proven scientific evidence that links the new variant to the rate or severity of reported cases.

She noted that the ministry's scientific committee following the pandemic development in Egypt has agreed to conduct research about potential genetic changes related to the virus.

She added that the ministry has up to 364 hospitals equipped with 35,000 beds, 5,000 intensive care beds and 2,400 ventilators to receive coronavirus patients, with 200 new ventilators distributed recently among hospitals.

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