File Photo: Men in protective masks wait for the train at a metro station in Cairo. REUTERS
The ministry, however, said that deaths linked to COVID-19 and hospitalisation rates are still at their lowest point.
The ministry’s statement, however, did not disclose the number of cases and deaths detected over the past week.
Egypt has been witnessing a sharp drop in the numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths, as indicated by the ministry’s weekly updates on the pandemic nationwide.
According to the ministry’s last report on the country’s epidemiological situation, which was released at the end of May, the average daily coronavirus infection and death tolls in Egypt had dropped to single digits.
In a statement on Sunday, Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, spokesperson for the ministry, attributed the rise in infections to the emergence of some sub-variants of the Omicron strain of the virus, which he said were “more transmissible, but do not cause severe infections.”
He also shed light on the citizens’ laxity in adhering to the precautions, especially in terms of wearing masks in gatherings and enclosed and poorly ventilated areas.
Abdel-Ghaffar also sees the waning of COVID-19 vaccine or infection-induced immunity — the six-month period after vaccination or infection — is one of the causes as well.
The spokesperson urged unvaccinated people to receive their inoculation and called on those who were vaccinated six months ago to register for a booster shot.
He also called on people with chronic diseases, immune-deficiencies, or the elderly who were inoculated three months ago to register to obtain a booster as well.
Egypt has administrated around 86.6 million doses of various types of coronavirus vaccines so far and 4.5 million booster shots.
As of December 2021, Egypt started barring unvaccinated citizens seeking to receive public services from entering government institutions.
However, the country has eased in recent weeks many of the coronavirus-related restrictions it had imposed since March 2020. This included allowing mosques and shrines nationwide to revert to normal operation hours after two years of being limited, as well as allowing weddings and celebrations at indoor halls in hotels as long as they followed precautionary measures against the coronavirus.
In mid-June, Egypt announced the lifting of all COVID-related entry restrictions for all travellers, whether Egyptian nationals or foreigners.
The country is also preparing for holding Eid Al-Adha prayers on Saturday 9 July in large mosques and outdoor spaces, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Religious Endowments on Sunday.