The number of coronavirus cases in Egypt is expected to reach its peak during the second wave in the pandemic in late January, according to Wagida Anwar, a member of the Supreme Committee for Viruses at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
The number of coronavirus cases expected by late January should not exceed 140,000 based on current modeling, Anwar said during a call to ON TV on Monday evening.
Egypt reported 1,359 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the total infection tally to 133,900 since the outbreak began in February.
The health ministry also reported 61 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus to 7,466.
Despite reporting low rates over the past five months, more than 1,000 people have been infected every day since Thursday, with daily death rates hovering at 40-50.
The new coronavirus strain that’s prevalent in the second wave spreads faster than the first one and also affects children, Anwar said.
The severest cases of the virus appear to be among those who have chronic and respiratory diseases accompanied with weak immunity, she added.
The virus expert expressed hope that the daily rates will stay below 1,500 cases, so that health services can absorb the increase that occurs daily.
Last week, Egypt signed a contract to buy 50 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.
The country received the first batch of China’s Sinopharm vaccine last week. Egypt is in talks with Sinovac Biotech to obtain the production licence in order manufacture the Chinese company’s coronavirus vaccine.
The vaccine will be optional and free of charge for all citizens as the government has already allocated EGP 100 billion to face the coronavirus crisis.
Concerning the plan to contain the virus spread across the country, Egypt announced a zero-tolerance policy with people who are not committed to the preventive measures against the coronavirus pandemic, after a jump in infection numbers in the past week.
People who do not wear a face mask will be fined EGP 50.
The government has banned New Year’s Eve celebrations and any gatherings, including funerals and weddings, held indoors.
Restaurants and cafes will continue to work with 50 percent capacity. They will also pay a EGP 4,000 fine and will be enforced to a one-week closure in case any violations to the rules are reported.