People walk past a clothing store with sale signs in the shop window in Cairo, Egypt, August 5, 2020. REUTERS
Egypt is urging citizens to strictly adhere to preventive measures in anticipation of a rise in coronavirus cases, especially with the increased gatherings that took place during the Islamic Eid Al-Adha holiday, which ended earlier this month.
In a statement on Sunday, Health Minister Hala Zayed called on Egyptians to abide by social distancing rules in public places, avoid family gatherings, and wear facemasks in public to help stem the infection rate.
Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said that isolation hospitals are prepared to receive new COVID-19 patients, adding that testing is available at all state hospitals nationwide and medications are being provided for patients in home isolation.
Megahed warned that handshaking can increase the risk of infection, and stressed the necessity of frequent hand washing and avoiding large gatherings in public areas, including at markets and malls.
He urged people aged 60 or older, people with chronic diseases, and pregnant women to avoid gatherings, as they are especially vulnerable and the most at risk from infectious diseases.
The government said in July that it may resort to adopting the strict preventative measures that it had imposed earlier to fight the coronavirus, including reclosing activities, if the infection rate rises again.
Egypt has moved towards a gradual reopening of its economy since late June, lifting some of the anti-virus restrictions, including lifting a nighttime curfew, reopening restaurants and resuming regular international flights as part of a plan to coexist with the virus.
Egypt's daily tally of new coronavirus infections and the daily death toll have both continued to decline in recent weeks despite the lifting of lockdown measures.
The cases reported daily have remained below 200 since early August.
On Saturday, Egypt detected 167 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed infections nationwide to 95,314 cases since the detection of the first case on 14 February.
The total toll includes 51,672 recoveries and 4,992 deaths.