People wait to receive free food from volunteers from a charity known as "Arabiet El Khier" during the holy month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt April 27, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
The Egyptian capital Cairo has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, followed by the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, said Awad Tag El-Din, a health adviser to Egypt's president.
Tag El-Din also sought to reassure the public that Egypt will be able to flatten the curve in the infection rate in the near future.
“As long as methods to identify coronavirus patients are improving, we are on the right path," Tag El-Din said in TV comments on Al-Arabiya El-Hadth TV channel on Saturday.
Egypt will reach a plateau when the daily number of cases remains steady for several days, Tag El-Din said, after that the numbers will start declining and the country will pass its peak of the coronavirus pandemic, which he expects would happen “soon.”
Egypt has recorded 8,964 cases of the coronavirus to date, including 514 fatalities. Of the total number, 2,002 people have recovered.
It took Egypt 51 days to record its first 1,000 cases, eight days to record its second 1,000, and less than three days for the country to reach the latest 1,000 cases.
Tag El-Din attributed the jump in the number of cases to an “expected rise” as part of the normal course of the outbreak, an increased number of tests conducted in recent weeks and closer monitoring by health authorities of suspected cases and those who were in contact with infected patients.
Every person infected with the virus can transfer the infection to two to five people, Tag El-Din said.
Operational quarantine hospitals in Egypt, now 17, have not reached full capacity yet, he said, stressing that preparing other hospitals for coronavirus patients does not mean that operating hospitals have reached their capacity.
The health ministry said earlier this month it was preparing 34 chest and fever hospitals to receive coronavirus patients as part of a plan to gear up for bigger outbreak.
Around 100,000 PCR tests for the coronavirus have been conducted in Egypt.
But “not all patients undergo PCR or rapid tests,” Tag El-Din said, referring to a group of other tests conducted to “help evaluate a case and support diagnosis,” including complete blood count, D-dimer and CT scans.
He had said earlier that a total of 1 million tests have been conducted.
He also stressed that no vaccination against COVID-19 has been developed yet.
“We currently have experiments on medicines and treatments that help in accelerating the healing process for patients or reducing their stay in hospital.”