CAIRO: The Egyptian government on Friday warned the country to brace itself for a second wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the number of new cases continued to rise.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said citizens needed to adhere to health and safety measures and take all necessary precautions to help combat the spread of the virus.
And the premier urged relevant authorities to strictly enforce rules in workplaces and on production sites in order to contain the outbreak.
He pointed out that a second wave of the virus, which had already hit a number of countries around the world, appeared to be more dangerous than the first one.
“Work must be done to avoid falling into a second wave,” he said.
The PM issued directives to tighten up anti-virus regulations and penalize those found to be breaching laws. Ministries were ordered to take appropriate actions including steps to reduce overcrowding in workplaces and giving priority to workers with chronic diseases.
On Thursday, the Egyptian Ministry of Health announced that it had recorded 342 new cases of COVID-19, up from 329 on Wednesday, 275 on Tuesday, and 242 on Monday. A total of 111,955 people in the country have now been reported to have contracted the virus.
The new cases count for Thursday was the highest recorded for at least a month, and another 13 deaths on Wednesday took to 6,508 the number of people who had so far died from COVID-19-related illness in Egypt.
Cabinet spokesman, Nader Saad, said the Egyptian government had become increasingly concerned about the recent resurgence of the virus in the region and European countries.
He pointed out that failure to follow precautionary measures could cause a significant rise in the number of cases in the country and added that a special crisis committee had been set up to deal with the escalating situation.
Saad noted that Madbouly had requested government institutions and ministries to reduce, where possible, the number of employees required to work and had said that staff should not provide services to citizens refusing to wear face masks.
However, the spokesman said that only around 300 COVID-19 cases had been reported in Egyptian schools allowing the academic year to continue in its current form, with remote education offering a non-essential alternative.
He added that the prospect of a lockdown in Egypt was a possibility but would be a last resort. “If we imitate the countries that applied the complete lockdown, we would be in a difficult economic situation.”