Egypt reports new single-day record of 495 coronavirus cases Friday; infections surpass 8,000

Ahram Online , Friday 8 May 2020

Street vendors sell clothes during curfew hours in Shubra El Kheima, Al Qalyubia Governorate, north of Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egypt May 3, 2020. Picture taken May 3, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's coronavirus cases continued to rise after the country reported a record 495 new infections on Friday, up by more than 100 cases from the previous highest toll reported on Thursday.

The total number of infections from the contagion has now climbed to 8,476 nationwide. The health ministry also reported 21 new deaths, bringing total fatalities to 503.

The ministry said in a statement that 58 Egyptians have been discharged from isolation hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,945 so far.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the number of people whose test results have turned from positive to negative, including the 1,945 recoveries, has now reached 2,416.

He added that Damietta, South Sinai, Port Said and the Red Sea governorates have witnessed a remarkable decline in the coronavirus infections rate during the past two weeks, praising the "awareness and commitment" of local residents to preventative measures.

Megahed also pointed out that the rate of infections has risen in other governorates where people were not as committed, without providing further details.

Friday's toll comes one day after Egypt detected a single-day record of 393 coronavirus cases on Thursday as it extended a night curfew until the end of the holy month of Ramadan, maintaining unprecedented restrictions to stem the spread of the virus in the populous country.

The curfew was first introduced in March as part of a series of measures to curb the outbreak and has been extended two times since.

Initially, it began at 7pm, but it was later moved back to 8pm then to 9pm at the beginning of the Islamic month.

Egypt surpassed 1,000 coronavirus cases on 4 April, with infections continuing to rise despite restrictions.

The first case of COVID-19 in Egypt was confirmed on 14 February and the country passed the milestone of 1,000 infections seven weeks later.

The government attributed increases to "people's habits outside curfew hours," especially during the two weeks that preceded the fasting month.

Egypt has signalled in the past few weeks that it is looking to pull back on some of the heavy restrictions introduced in recent months, and has urged people to maintain social distancing and other preventive measures when these changes are made.

Egypt will have to coexist with the coronavirus pandemic starting from June, cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said on Thursday, as the country continues to push forward with efforts to open the economy after the end of Ramadan.

The government is hoping it can "start a new period" by 1 June, Saad said, adding that the government will review its position on restrictions imposed over the pandemic before the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which is set to begin on 23 May.

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