File photo: Egypt s prime minister Mostafa Madbouly (Al-Ahram)
Earlier on Sunday, the Ministry of Health and Population reported an increase of 6.9 percent in coronavirus infections over the past week, without disclosing the exact number, months after infections began declining nationwide.
The ministry, however, said that deaths linked to COVID-19 and hospitalisation rates are still at their lowest point.
According to the ministry’s last report, which was released at the end of May, the average daily coronavirus infection and death tolls in Egypt had dropped to single digits.
Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, the official spokesman for the health 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.”
Abdel-Ghaffar also saw 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.
He criticised citizens’ laxity in adhering to the precautions, especially in terms of wearing masks in gatherings and enclosed and poorly ventilated areas.
On Tuesday, the spokesperson said the ministry would organise vaccination campaigns against coronavirus for vacationers in tourist places to target holiday-makers during the coming public holiday.
Public employees across Egypt will be taking a one-week paid holiday on the occasion of Eid El-Adha from Saturday 9 July to Thursday 14 July.
The spokesperson also announced the continuation of “Knock on Doors” campaign, which was launched on 7 March, to vaccinate citizens against coronavirus in Cairo, Kafr El-Sheikh, Qalioubiya, and Daqahliya governorates.
Moreover, the ministry also called to raise awareness levels among citizens and emphasize adherence to preventive and precautionary measures.
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 limited service, as well as allowing weddings and celebrations at indoor halls in hotels as long as they followed precautionary measures.
In mid-June, Egypt announced the lifting of all COVID-related entry restrictions for all travellers, whether Egyptian nationals or foreigners.