A man wearing a protective face mask walks in Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egypt, May 4, 2020. REUTERS
Egypt announced a daily record of 388 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, surpassing the 7,000 infections mark to report a total infection tally of 7,201, the health ministry announced.
The ministry also reported 16 new deaths, bringing the total deaths from the virus to 452.
The statement said that 98 patients, including a foreigner, have been discharged, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,730 so far.
Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in the statement that the number of people whose test results have turned from positive to negative, including the 1,730 recoveries, has now reached 2,224
Egypt surpassed 1,000 coronavirus cases on 4 April, with infections continuing to rise despite lockdown restrictions imposed since March to stem the spread of the virus in the populous country.
The first case of COVID-19 in Egypt was confirmed on 14 February, seven weeks prior to surpassing the milestone of 1,000 infections.
Despite the unprecedented restrictions, which include a nighttime curfew since March, cases continue to rise, with the government attributing the increase to “people’s habits outside curfew hours,” especially during the two weeks that preceded Ramadan.
The holy month of Ramadan typically sees a surge in shopping activity, particularly for food and drink products, and gatherings on iftar, where Muslims usually break their fast daily during the holy month.
Last April, Egypt extended its nationwide curfew, yet revised curfew hours be shortened by one hour, from 9pm to 6 am, during Ramadan.
The country is expected to see an extension of the curfew this week, as it continues with measures to stem the spread of the virus for fear of overwhelming an ailing medical sector.
On Saturday, Health Minister Hala Zayed said the recent rise in the number of coronavirus cases is still within the predicted rate, one day after the country detected 358 new cases last Friday
The situation in Egypt is still safe as long as the week’s numbers are not double those of the previous week, Zayed had said.
The continuing rise in the infections tally comes as Egypt resumed a number of governmental services, including licensing for vehicles, and some court sessions under steps seeking a return to normal life after the Eid Al-Fitr religious holiday, which marks the end of the holy month.
Egypt has signaled that people should develop new norms and lifestyles until a vaccine is found, urging people to maintain social distancing and other preventive measures as a heavily affected economy opens back up.