Coronavirus infections and fatalities are likely to increase in December and January if citizens ignore the recommended precautionary measures, Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed said at a press conference on Sunday.
Zayed said, as per a study model carried out in coordination with the World Health Organization, "The infection rate is expected to, at least, double and the death toll is expected to triple in December and January if citizens ignore wearing facemasks.”
She urged all citizens to adhere to all preventative measures, including wearing protective facemasks, especially in enclosed or poorly ventilated places.
The minister expected a rise in the number of infections and deaths resulting from respiratory diseases in general during December and January.
As of Saturday, a total of 108,962 infections and 6,355 deaths have been reported in Egypt since the outbreak began in February.
Coronavirus infections are currently increasing in Egypt after three months of reporting less than 200 cases daily.
During the briefing, the minister said the increase in infection rate in Egypt and other countries is related to the beginning of winter.
According to a graph shared during the conference, Cairo and Alexandria top Egypt’s governorates in the number of infections, followed by Giza. In contrast, the Upper Egyptian governorates have the lowest infection rate.
Minister Zayed called for sticking to all preventative measures at home, saying that around 65 percent of coronavirus infections occurred after the virus had been transmitted inside homes. She said that therefore those who do their work from home all day are more likely to catch the virus than those who stay, for example, six hours at their workplace.
The minister called for employers to enforce rotational shifts, as well as encourage working online to limit transmission of the virus among employees.
She said workplaces such as restaurants, shops, and others that do not comply with all preventative measures will be closed for three days, in accordance with the latest regulations released by the Egyptian cabinet.
"That is why homemakers and the unemployed are more vulnerable to the disease," she added.
The minister also assured Egypt's readiness to deal with the second wave of the pandemic, which has already hit many countries around the world.