COVID-19 Impact: Birth rate in Egypt may decline, says deputy Minister

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Sun, 05 Jul 2020 - 04:29 GMT

A Sleeping baby- CC via Pikist

A Sleeping baby- CC via Pikist

CAIRO - 5 July 2020: Birth rate in Egypt is expected to decline due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, said Egyptian Deputy Minister for Population Affairs Tareq Tawfiq in a statement on Sunday.

“The coronavirus affects family behavior [...] It may lead to a sharp drop in the birth rate in the nine months following the pandemic due to fears of losing jobs, health concerns, and closing health facilities,” he said.

Tawfiq clarified that many husbands believe that the current time is not appropriate for having children as a result of fear of the future, psychological pressure, fear of infection, and the economic crisis.

However, the deputy minister expected that the fertility rate could rebound over the five years following the pandemic like what happened in Sweden and Norway after the end of the Spanish flu in 1918.

To avoid any possible boom in the birth rate, Tawfiq said that the governmental efforts in family planning should be intensified to promote public awareness.

On June 26,  2020,  the Ministry of Health advised women to postpone pregnancy amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry stated that the virus could cause blood clotting and consequently could affect the placenta, which feeds the baby. "The virus could cause other symptoms to the pregnant woman," the statement added.

The Family Planning Sector at the ministry said that women’s immunity becomes lower during pregnancy, making them more vulnerable to the infection. The sector added that babies could be affected by the virus.

Despite the outbreak of the virus, the population of Egypt increased 0.5 million people in 125 days, as of the latest data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) on June 15, 2020.

Since 2017, the Egyptian government has sought to bring down the rate of fertility amid the limited sources of the country and the increasing levels of poverty among society. In 2018, the government launched a two-child policy. 

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