Egypt s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. Egyptian Cabinet
The premier stressed that the state has provided all types of internationally-approved coronavirus vaccines, and that the country currently has a stock of 70.7 million doses, according to acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar.
Egypt has obtained a total of 132 million doses of various coronavirus vaccines so far, of which 36.6 million first doses and 24.1 million second doses have been administered, Abdel-Ghaffar said during the meeting.
The minister also revealed that 489,700 booster doses have been used, bringing the number of the total administered doses 61.3 million.
Omicron and rise in infections
Abdel-Ghaffar noted that the infection rate recently recorded a sharp increase nationwide.
Egypt has been seeing a hike in daily coronavirus infections since 5 January, when 803 cases were recorded, reaching 1,303 cases on Tuesday 18 January.
During the meeting, the acting health minister affirmed that the highly infectious coronavirus variant Omicron is responsible for the vast majority of cases in Egypt.
The health ministry has urged people suffering from common cold symptoms to consider that they may have contracted COVID-19, and should therefore self-isolate and avoid sharing personal tools with family members.
Common cold-like symptoms include a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and a sore throat, the ministry said.
The ministry has also warned that Omicron is spreading quickly and can cause unvaccinated people to develop severe symptoms.
According to the ministry, Egypt is already implementing plans to contain the spread of Omicron, including providing almost all the vaccine types, facilitating the registration procedures for taking the vaccine, and accelerating vaccine delivery, which has reached nearly 600,000 doses a day.
The plan also includes tightening pandemic-related safety measures at all land, sea, and air ports. Since December, vaccination has been a requirement for anyone entering government offices, and unvaccinated state employees are barred from entering their workplaces if they cannot provide a negative PCR test.
In addition to making vaccination mandatory for those above 18 years old, the state is now vaccinating 12 to 18-year-olds, and has started offering booster shots to those who are double vaccinated. The third shot provides stronger protection against the virus and its new variant, and may be a different vaccine from the two initial doses.