A worker wears protective gear as he sprays disinfectant, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Hurghada International Airport in Hurghada, Egypt, June 18, 2020 (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt detected 1,547 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, reporting a total infections tally of 53,758 since the outbreak in mid February, the health ministry announced.
The ministry also reported 89 new deaths, bringing the total deaths from the virus to 2,106.
The statement said that 399 patients, have been discharged, bringing the total number of recoveries to 14,327.
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 14,327 recoveries, has now reached 15,779.
Saturday’s toll is down from a record high in infections of 1,774 new coronavirus cases, the highest single day rise reported since the outbreak.
The steady increase in cases comes as the country braces for the beginning of Thanaweya Amma high school exams on Sunday, where a total of 650,000 students are scheduled to sit for the exams despite calls for postponement amid fears of infection.
On Thursday, Egypt’s Doctors Syndicate urged the government postpone the exams, over the pandemic.
The country’s medical union, along with the Cairo local branch, sent letters to the president, prime minister, parliament speaker and education minister asking them to reconsider the timing of the exams, which begin on 21 June.
However, officials have stressed that the examinations would be held under strict preventive measures to curtail the spread of the virus.
Education Minister Tarek Shawki said earlier this month that exam rooms will be sterilised and students will have their temperature checked on arrival. They will also be required to wear masks and gloves in order to be allowed entry into examination rooms.
A total of 16,000 thermometers, 34 million face masks, 6.5 million pairs of gloves and 6,000 bottles of hand sanitiser have been distributed to schools, and ambulances will be parked nearby in case of illness among exam-takers.