A woman wearing a protective face mask, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), looks at traditional Ramadan lanterns, called "Fanous" which are displayed for sale at a stall, ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at Al-Khayamia street in old Cairo, Egypt April 16, 2020. (photo: Reuters)
Egypt's health ministry reported 188 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, the highest single-day rise to date, bringing the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 3,032.
The ministry said in a statement that the total number of COVID-19 deaths has now reached 224 nationwide, after announcing 19 deaths today.
Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in the statement that the newly-detected 188 cases are all Egyptians and were detected through the ministry’s investigation and contact tracing protocols.
In a bid to contain the virus and stop any possible gatherings that could spread the contagion, the cabinet announced on Thursday that it will suspend all public transport on Monday 20 April, the date of the national Sham El-Nessim holiday.
The decision will see the shutting down of buses, railways, the Cairo metro, and Nile transport, in addition to regional coach services between different parts of the country, and to beach resorts. Moreover, all shops, malls, beaches, and public parks and gardens will be completely closed.
According to cabinet spokesman Nader Saad, the nighttime curfew in Egypt, in place since 25 March, is expected to be extended during the month of Ramadan, which is supposed to begin this year on 24 April.
The country’s nighttime curfew was initially set from 7 pm to 6 am, and has been shortened from 8 pm to 6 am.
Megahed also said that 55 Egyptians have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals on Saturday, which brings the total number of recoveries from the virus so far to 701.
The number of people whose test results have turned from positive to negative, including the recoveries, has now reached 980.
According to the ministry's reported figures, Egypt has approximately conducted 55,000 coronavirus tests through 25 central laboratories nationwide dedicated to perform tests for the respiratory disease.
Health Minister Hala Zayed said in Thursday's statement that Egypt has 14 functioning quarantine hospitals, out of 30 hospitals have already been prepared for the current phase, that have 2,241 beds and 407 ICU beds, and are equipped with 346 ventilators.
The ministry depends on 56 fever and pulmonology hospitals to carry out triage and referral of coronavirus patients before they are taken to quarantine hospitals.
It has launched a WhatsApp messaging service (01553105105) and designated two hotlines (105 and 15335) to receive citizens' inquiries about the coronavirus and other infectious diseases.