COVID-19 in Egypt: Citizens’ behavior behind increasing rate of infection, says Minister

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Sat, 02 May 2020 - 01:04 GMT

FILE- Minister of Health Hala Zayed and her accompanying delegation underwent examination and preventive measures immediately upon her arrival at Beijing airport Monday - Press photo

FILE- Minister of Health Hala Zayed and her accompanying delegation underwent examination and preventive measures immediately upon her arrival at Beijing airport Monday - Press photo

CAIRO - 2 May 2020: On Friday, Egypt recorded the highest daily infection rate of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) with 358 cases and 14 deaths; the reason behind this ongoing increase boiled down to the Egyptians’ behavior as it was announced by the Minister of Health Hala Zayed on Friday evening.

The reason "is the citizens’ behavior, which should be changed as we cope with coronavirus, until finding a treatment drug or a vaccine,” Zayed said in a phone call with Al-Hikaya talk show on MBC channel.

The ministry added that the crowding that occurred before the beginning of the night-time curfew hours over the two weeks before the holy month of Ramadan kept the curve of the infection rate up.

She noted that the government is monitoring the movement of the citizens via Google, saying that the commitment of people to the precautionary measures announced by each country will be monitored in the coming period.

Google has launched a service called Community Mobility Report that shows the changes of people’s movements and mobility in public places via using location data of smartphones.

The mobility report on Egypt showed that the rate of mobility to grocery markets, food warehouses, farmers markets, specialty food shops, drug stores, and pharmacies declined by 40 percent in the period between March 15 to April 5, while the rate of decline has rebounded again to reach 11 percent from April 5 to April 26.

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The minister clarified that Egypt has reduced the number of curfew hours to prevent crowdings and to reduce the infection.

Zayed called upon people should abide by the protective rules like wearing face masks and social distancing, noting that the coming period will show how the people can protect themselves and the others

Two days ago, head of the Allergy and Immunology department in the Egyptian Institute for Vaccine and Serum (VACSERA) Amgad al-Haddad said the rate of infection with the COVID-19 disease in Egypt is likely to reach its peak in May due to the people’s reckless behavior regarding the protective measures against the pandemic.

"The gatherings are catastrophic [...] and everyone is equally exposed to the infection,” he said, calling upon people to follow a healthy diet and upon the elderly people to stay at home.

Egypt recorded, Friday, 358 new coronavirus cases and 14 deaths, bringing the total infected patients of COVID-19 to 5,895 and the deaths to 406 according to the Health Minister's daily briefing.

Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed added that 79 patients were discharged from the hospital after being confirmed that they are completely recovered from the viruses, raising the number of recovered cases to 1,460 out of 1,875 who had been retested negative for the virus.

Since mid-March, Egypt has taken certain strict measures to protect the public from the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The government has taken gradual steps in dealing with the coronavirus spread, starting with suspending schools and universities, and international flights.

Furthermore, a night-time curfew has been imposed since March 24, 2020. Additionally, the Ministry of Awqaf [Endowment] extended the closure of the mosques and the places of worship nationwide until further notice.

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