Egypt surpasses 10,000 coronavirus cases; death toll rises to 544

Menna Alaa El-Din , Tuesday 12 May 2020

Men wearing protective face masks walk in downtown Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the co
Men wearing protective face masks walk in downtown Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egypt. (Reuters)

Egypt announced 347 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number to 10,093, the health ministry announced.

The ministry also reported 11 new deaths, bringing the number of fatalities to 544.

A daily record of 154 patients have been discharged, the ministry said, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,326.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in the statement that the number of people who have rested negative, including the 2,326 recoveries, has now reached 2,811.

Despite lockdown measures imposed in March to contain the spread of the virus, Egypt’s infections tally has continued to increase.

The first case of COVID-19 in Egypt was confirmed on 14 February, and though it took seven weeks to reach the milestone of 1,000 infections on 4 April, it has taken just three days to move from 7,000 to 8,000 and three days to reach 10,000 from 9,000.

Measures applied by the government since March to contain the pandemic include closing schools and universities, mosques and churches and suspending international flights. The cabinet also imposed a nighttime curfew, which starts at 9pm.

The curfew was extended for two weeks on Thursday, until the end of Ramadan.

In recent days, some restrictions have been relaxed. Car licensing sections at traffic departments, real estate registry offices and some court services have now reopened, with the facilities requiring face masks and maintaining a distance between employees and the public as a mandatory preventive measure.

Egypt has signalled recently that it is looking to lift more restrictions by next month, and has urged people to maintain social distancing and other preventive measures when these changes take place.

Egypt will have to coexist with the coronavirus pandemic starting from June, cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said on Thursday.

Authorities have attributed the increases in the number of cases to people’s behaviour outside curfew hours.  

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