CAIRO: Egypt has warned of a second wave of coronavirus in the country following a recent spike in infections.
The warning dashes hopes of an end to the outbreak after a promising drop in case numbers over the past week.
On Monday, the Egyptian Ministry of Health reported 174 new cases and 26 new deaths from the disease, a consecutive day-by-day increase.
Many fear a second wave, especially as health precautions and face mask guidelines are being ignored. Malls, cafes, restaurants and beaches are witnessing huge crowding across the country.
“We cannot say that we entered a second wave of the coronavirus because the current wave has not ended,” Presidential Health Adviser Muhammad Awad Tajuddin said.
“Case numbers have fallen, but there has been an increase over the past few days. We expected this because the same thing happened during Eid Al-Fitr due to large gatherings on coasts and beaches,” he added.
In an interview on TV channel Al-Mihwar, he said a second wave is expected in the fall because of lower temperatures and the disease’s similarity to seasonal influenza.
The adviser added that isolation hospitals are ready in case of an increase in intensive care cases.
On Sunday, Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed urged Egyptians to follow preventive measures, especially after Eid Al-Adha celebrations.
The ministry recently reopened many isolation hospitals that were closed several weeks ago as part of a strategy to deal with the spike.
Khaled Mujahid, media adviser to the Ministry of Health, said the hospitals will treat moderate to severe cases of coronavirus, while people with minor cases of the illness follow self-quarantine guidelines.
He urged anyone over the age of 60 or those suffering from chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic lung disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and pregnant women to avoid gatherings.
Warnings of a second wave in Egypt were a trending topic on Twitter and “the second wave” was the most-tweeted phrase.
Hussam Hosni, head of the Scientific Committee to Combat Coronavirus at the Ministry of Health, said that the return of high case numbers was due to precautionary measures being ignored, but added that the country has yet to enter a second wave of the pandemic.
He said Egypt had the pandemic under control in the first phase and called on people to follow precautionary measures.
As of Monday, the number of coronavirus cases in the country since the beginning of the outbreak totaled 95,666, including 53,779 recoveries and 5,035 deaths.