A man wearing a protective face mask poses for a picture as he waits for his family at Cairo International Airport (CAI), while Egypt ramps up its efforts to slow the spread the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cario, Egypt March 19, 2020. (Reuters)
The vast majority of coronavirus cases detected in Egypt were in direct contact with affected people, Egypt's health ministry spokesman said.
“More than 90 percent of the newly discovered coronavirus cases in Egypt had come into contact with previously detected cases,” Khaled Megahed said in TV comments late Tuesday, stressing that exercising caution and avoiding gatherings and social interaction is key to combating the spread of the virus.
Megahed's comments to a talk show on Sada El-Balad TV Channel came after the Egyptian government declared a nighttime curfew from 7pm to 6am for two weeks starting Wednesday, as part of broad measures to curb the deadly virus.
Egypt has 402 confirmed coronavirus cases in 24 of the country's 27 governorates, including 20 fatalities, according to the health ministry. Of the total, 80 people have so far recovered.
Megahed said Egypt is currently working on increasing the number of hospitals earmarked for coronavirus patients. The country currently has five isolation hospitalsn in Marsa Matrouh, Luxor, Ismailia, Alexandria and Daqahliya.
"We are currently working on preparing more hospitals equipped with intensive care equipment and medical teams to be used when needed," Megahed said.
Separately, Megahed was quoted in local media as saying that five additional hospitals have been earmarked for coronavirus cases, including two in Cairo's Agouza and 15th of May districts.
Hospitals across the country are equipped with the supplies and facilities necessary for tackling the outbreak, the spokesman said.
“We lacked some equipment at the beginning, but we have recently signed supply orders to cover our needs," he said.
Egypt has taken a raft of measures to curb the spread of the respiratory disease, including suspending international flights, shutting down schools, universities, mosques and churches, halting all entertainment activities, and reducing the number of government employees going to work.