Egypt breaks daily record for coronavirus infections for second day in a row on Saturday

Ahmed Morsy , Saturday 13 Jun 2020

Egypt conducts 6,000 PCR tests every day free of charge nationwide to detect coronavirus infections, health ministry official said

A man wearing a protective face mask walks past a bookstand on street in central Cairo, amid concern
A man wearing a protective face mask walks past a bookstand on street in central Cairo, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Egypt June 11, 2020. (Reuters)

Egypt's health ministry said in a statement on Saturday that it has detected 1,677 new coronavirus infections, the highest single-day increase announced to date, bringing the total number of confirmed cases nationwide to 42,980 since the detection of the first case on 14 February.

This is the second consecutive day for the country to witness a single-day record in the number of detected infections.

Egypt conducts 6,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests every day free of charge nationwide to detect coronavirus infections, according to the head of the health ministry's Central Department of Laboratories.

The chief of the ministry's laboratories Nancy El-Gendy said in an interview with MBC Misr 2 over the phone on Wednesday that Cairo's central laboratories conduct 3,000 PCR daily tests, while the same number of nose swabs is done daily in the laboratories' branches in other governorates.

The ministry's central laboratories do not perform the swabs for citizens for reassurance, El-Gendy said, but rather conduct the PCR tests they receive from all hospitals. She pointed out that patients with coronavirus symptoms have to head immediately to the nearest hospital to perform the swab and the hospital in turn sends it to the laboratory.

According to the ministry's statement published on Saturday, the total number of COVID-19 deaths has now reached 1,484, after announcing 62 deaths today, the highest single-day spike in fatalities recorded to date.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed also said that 421 patients fully recovered and left isolation hospitals on Saturday, which brings the total number of recoveries from the virus so far to 11,529 cases.

The number of people whose test results have turned from positive to negative, including the full recoveries, has now reached 12,919.

While it took Egypt 50 days to record its first 1,000 infections on 4 April, 1,577 cases were detected on Friday alone.

The head of the Egyptian Ministry of Health Scientific Committee to Combat COVID-19, Dr Hosam Hosny, explained during a phone call with Sada Al-Balad TV channel last Wednesday that the number of coronavirus cases recorded will continue to rise in June till it reaches between 2,000 and 2,500 cases per day.

Hosny has also predicted that Egypt will reach its peak in the first week of July, and then the number of cases "will stabilise and will then start decreasing."

Nevertheless, Minister of Health Hala Zayed said in a televised statement a few days earlier that "we cannot say whether we are at the peak stage or not, and we will only be able to know and determine the peak stage after it passes."

"When the rate of infections decreases for two consecutive weeks, we can subsequently say that the increase in infections that preceded the decline is the peak," the minister said.

Starting tomorrow, 14 June, Egypt's nighttime curfew, in place since March, will be slightly shortened by one hour to run from 8 pm until 4 am instead of the previous 5 am, according to a cabinet statement last Thursday.

Also starting tomorrow, shops will be allowed to operate till 6 pm instead of 5 pm, and public transportation will operate until 8 pm.

These measures are part of the gradual reopening of the country to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.

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