Egypt’s Health Ministry announced the country reported 1,218 new cases of the new coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total number of cases up to more than 50,000, reported Reuters. The spike in number comes a fortnight before the government is set to further ease lockdown restrictions.
The Egypt government had imposed a partial curfew in March to curb the spread of the disease, shutting schools, restaurants and suspending almost all international flights. But the country has been heading towards a gradual reopening since the beginning of June.
The pandemic has hit Egypt’s vital tourism industry, which the government says accounts for 5% of economic output. But analysts say it may account for as much as 15% if jobs and investment indirectly related to the industry are included.
The country is now gearing up to open its doors for tourists in the upcoming summer season and has said it plans to reopen its airports for international flights starting July 1.
On Thursday, spokesman for the Health Ministry Khaled Megahed said the country registered a total of 50,437 cases of the coronavirus. The ministry added that 88 people died of COVID-19, bringing the number of total number of deaths to 1,938. As per reports, 387 patients have fully recovered and have been discharged from hospitals on Thursday. The ministry said the total number of recoveries has now reached 13,528.
The country’s higher education minister cited a study on June 1 estimating that the actual number of cases could be up to five times higher than the figure reported.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Egypt’s health authorities had urged the people to report even mildly symptomatic cases ensuring that they were designated isolation hospitals across the country as early as possible. As the infections continued to steadily rise, however, the health ministry began offering prescriptions that can be delivered to sick individuals’ homes.