(FILES) This file photo taken by a doctor at the Sheikh Zayed hospital in the Egyptian capital Cairo, shows members of a medical staff, wearing protective gear, intubating a patient in the isolated ward for COVID-19 coronavirus patients, on April 29, 2020 AFP
Egypt detected 789 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, its highest toll in a single day, hitting the 18,000 infections mark to report a total infection tally of 18,756, the health ministry announced.
The ministry also reported 14 new deaths, bringing the total deaths from the virus to 797.
The statement said that 127 patients, have been discharged, bringing the total number of recoveries to 5027.
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 5027.recoveries, has now reached 5606.
Despite lockdown measures imposed in March to contain the spread of the virus, Egypt’s infections tally continued to spike after it reached its 1,000 infections toll milestone on 4 April following the detection of its first case on 14 February.
Egypt hopes currently imposed stricter measures during the Eid Al-Fitr religious holiday, including extending its curfew hours and a full suspension of public transportation, would help in curbing the spread of the virus.
The nationwide curfew currently begins at 5 pm instead of a previous 9 pm since Sunday through next Friday.
The extension comes under measures to curtail the spread of the virus during Eid Al-Fitr, which officials say poses a risk of a surge in infections due to traditions of gatherings during the festive feast.
Last week, officials suggested that the real number of coronavirus cases could be higher than number of cases officially detected.
Egypt's Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said during a Thursday event attended by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi that the real number of coronavirus infections in Egypt could be over 71,000.
He added that the number of confirmed cases in the country is predicted to reach 20,000 this week, reasoning the outbreak estimates to a "hypothetical model".
Egypt appears adamant to gradually re-open the economy despite a rise in infections to recover main sources of foreign currency, including tourism and remittances from Egyptian expats.
Egypt has signaled 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.
It said it will make wearing facemasks in public places mandatory starting 30 May, with violators facing hefty fines
The curfew will be revised again after Eid Al-Fitr to begin at 8 pm to 6 am starting May 30 for two weeks, marking the gradual reopening of a country heavily affected by the pandemic's repercussions.
Malls and shops will be allowed to reopen all week until the beginning of the curfew.
As of mid-June, the state will announce a gradual resumption of several activities, including sporting clubs and youth centers, while following precautionary measures against the virus, according to the government.
This may also include the gradual reopening of places of worship.
Egypt announced earlier this month a three-stage plan that will see life gradually return to normal as the country learns to coexist with the coronavirus.
The first stage, effective now, entails “strict measures” to prevent a resurgence of the virus, with two other stages, applied when Egypt sees a decline in new cases, seeing medium and relaxed measures.