Laboratory workers fill boxes with vials of the locally produced Sinovac vaccine, manufactured by the Egyptian company VACSERA, in Cairo, on 1 September 2021. (AFP)
Egypt reported 368 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the country’s highest daily count and the first above 350 since 28 June.
This brings the total infection tally to 290,395 since the outbreak began in February 2020, the health ministry said in its daily coronavirus update statement.
Egypt has been seeing a slow but steady daily increase in coronavirus cases since early August, with health officials stressing that the fourth wave of COVID-19 – which has already begun in Egypt – will reach its peak in late September and early October.
Though the officially announced daily infections may appear low compared to the spikes being seen elsewhere in the world, many observers say these announced number can be multiplied by 10 to reflect the real ones as they merely indicate the positive cases registered at the Ministry of Health’s hospitals.
The ministry also reported 12 new deaths on the same day, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus to 16,801.
The statement said that 659 patients have been discharged after recovering from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 242,623.
Egypt – which has already vaccinated 10 million citizens – has been recently intensifying its vaccination to achieve its announced target of 40 million inoculated citizens by the end of 2021.
The state is currently considering giving booster shots of coronavirus vaccines to citizens who were inoculated at least 6-8 months ago, according to Health Minister Hala Zayed.
The third shot would be given before the end of the year, but the country is now prioritising those who haven’t received the first dose, Zayed said in a TV interview on Sunday.
Along with increasing its capacity to manufacture local coronavirus vaccines, Egypt has imported millions of doses since starting its campaign in January, including the WHO-approved British AstraZeneca vaccine, Johnson & Johnson, the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac, and the Russian Sputnik V.