Egypt records a surge in coronavirus cases in May

Egypt's Minister of Social Solidarity Nevin el-Qabbaj wears a mask during a news conference of Egyptian Food Bank to announce transportation of food aid boxes to all governorates for people that lost their jobs because of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cairo, Egypt May 2, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 10 May 2020

Egypt records a surge in coronavirus cases in May

  • Egypt is near the peak of the virus infection, according to Dr. Hossam Hosny, head of the Anti-Coronavirus Scientific Committee at the Ministry of Health

CAIRO: The number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Egypt has jumped in the first week of May, rising from about 300 cases on the first day of the month to 495 recorded on May 8. Egypt has so far recorded 8,476 cases and 503 deaths.
Dr. Amgad El-Haddad, the head of the Allergy and Immunology Department at the Egyptian Institute for Vaccine and Serum (VACSERA), said that the rising number of infections is due to the “reckless behavior of people” regarding protective measures against the pandemic. He said this was the direct result of “the people’s lack of awareness, especially concerning gatherings and crowded places that we saw before Ramadan.”
“There are two challenges in the upcoming period: The first is Eid Al-Fitr holidays when people are expected to go out in large numbers to markets for shopping,” Dr. El-Haddad said. “The second challenge will come on June 1 which marks the implementation of the government’s decision to coexist with the coronavirus.”
Egypt is near the peak of the virus infection, according to Dr. Hossam Hosny, head of the Anti-Coronavirus Scientific Committee at the Ministry of Health. Hosny said the reason behind the recent surge in infections was due to the fact that people were violating the curfew restrictions.
“We have actually reached the beginning of the peak and we hope to further, cooperate with the people to reach a level of stability, after which the decline phase would begin soon,” he said.

Egypt is near the peak of the virus infection

Dr. Hossam Honsy, Health Ministry

“I don’t blame the people for the surging numbers but still, we need strict penalties if the curfew is violated.”
Ministry of Health spokesman Khaled Megahed stressed the need to adhere to social distancing, minimize socializing, and commit to preventive measures, in addition to drinking more fluids from iftar (breaking fast) to sahoor (last meal before dawn), and following a healthy diet to boost the immune system.
Megahed called on the public to change some of their habits such as excessive shopping and gatherings, and to leave home only when necessary. He said people should follow all precautionary measures by wearing face masks and constantly washing hands or spraying them with alcohol to avoid infections, especially during the last two weeks of Ramadan and before Eid Al-Fitr.
Megahed called on those who show coronavirus symptoms to go immediately to the nearest cardio-thoracic or fever hospital to receive the necessary medical treatment.

 


‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

Updated 31 May 2020

‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

  • Turkey claims an agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to create a “fait accompli” over rights to natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean by drilling off the coast of Libya, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

Ankara’s announcement that it intends to activate last year’s maritime borders agreement with the Libyan government in Tripoli has brought simmering tensions to the boil.   

Turkey claims the agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between its southern coast and Libya’s northeastern coast. However, Greece, Cyprus and the EU say the deal is illegal. Turkey may also face EU sanctions over drilling in Cypriot territorial waters.

Ankara has not said exactly where it will drill, but experts told Arab News they expect exploration activities to begin off Tripoli in the short term, and then near to the coastal city of Sirte.

“From a tactical point of view, Turkey may test the scenario of a crisis with Athens where escalation takes place and then, in the context of de-escalation, the two countries would have to discuss and negotiate their positions,” said Zenonas Tziarras, a researcher at PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Mona Sukkarieh, a political risk consultant and co-founder of Middle East Strategic Perspectives, said: “If we take Turkish operations off the Cypriot coast as an indicator, operations off the Libyan coast might start off on the less provocative part of the spectrum and grow bolder with time toward the more provocative part of the spectrum.

“The objective is to demonstrate a resolute determination in order to extract concessions or, at the very least, to impose itself as a player to reckon with.”