Egypt detected 260 new novel coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest infections toll reported since the outbreak, surpassing the 5,000 mark to report a total of 5042 cases nationwide, a statement by the health ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry also reported 22 new deaths, the highest single day reported deaths, bringing the total deaths from the virus to 359.
The statement said 68 cases have been discharged, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1304 cases to date.
The ministry said 17 of reported death cases on Monday and Tuesday have passed away before arriving at hospitals.
30 percent of total deaths due to the pandemic have passed away before admission at hospitals, while 20 percent have passed away after 48 hours of admission due to a deterioration in their medical states, according to the statement.
Egypt first hit its 1,000 benchmark on 4 April, with infections tally continuing to rise despite imposed restrictions since March to stem the spread of the pandemic in the populous country.
Several healthcare facilities in Egypt have detected cases among their doctors and nurses in the past few days, triggering fears that the outbreak would hit the country’s overwhelmed healthcare sector.
Last week, Egypt shortened the nighttime curfew by one hour for Ramadan, amending curfew hours to begin at 9 pm instead of the previous 8 pm.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly had warned last week that the number of infections is expected to rise, yet assured the public that the government is still able to contain the virus.
If the rate of infections surges significantly and gets “out of control,” however, the government will take immediate measures that will be stricter than those currently in place, he said.
Egypt is seeing an unprecedented Ramadan this year as restrictions to contain the pandemic are expected to take a toll on the cherished rituals of Islam’s holiest month.
Egypt has banned all public religious gatherings during Ramadan including public iftars – fast-breaking meals – and the communal Taraweeh prayers. The ban will also include the itikaf ritual in which believers seclude themselves in mosques for an extended period.
However, Egypt has indicated that it will take slow steps to return to normal life after the Eid Al-Fitr religious holiday, which marks the end of the holy month.
Financial losses in some of Egypt’s main vital sectors, including tourism, have pushed the country to resort to the International Monitory Fund (IMF) for a new one-year financial assistance deal along with technical support as a proactive step to counter the negative economic repercussions of the coronavirus outbreak.