CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi revealed the approximate date for the availability of a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as well as that of contracting to obtain the necessary share of vaccinations.
During a speech, President El-Sisi said the vaccine would not be available before the middle of next year, explaining that during the coming days, a contract would be made to obtain Egypt’s share of the vaccine.
He said Egypt has had a specialized scientific committee that has been managing the crisis since December of last year and that would now be dedicated to studying the most appropriate vaccines.
Egypt has taken many measures at the economic level, including an EGP100 billion ($6.4 billion) initiative to confront the first wave of the virus.
El-Sisi said that during the management of the first wave, the state was forced to take measures that should not be repeated again.
“This will only happen with your cooperation and eagerness and by taking the matter seriously. We had to partially isolate and close universities, schools, restaurants and tourist facilities during the first wave, and we do not want to repeat this,” he said.
He urged citizens to avoid sitting in closed spaces, to respect social distancing and to wear face masks to reduce the chances of contracting the virus. He also called on companies, factories and public transportation companies to continue to enforce the use of face masks, also calling on the prime minister to provide greater quantities of face masks in schools and universities.
Bassam Rady, spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, confirmed that the president’s speech came as a result of the increased number of new COVID-19 cases.
“During today’s meeting, it became clear that COVID-19 infections have increased all around the world, especially with the approach of December, which confirms that the second wave will be different from the first, as the symptoms differ with a wider spread of the disease,” Rady said.
Egyptian Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said that the occupancy rate of intensive-care beds in university hospitals is at 38 percent and that the virus is still under control. The government is expecting an increase in the number of cases during the months of December and January.
COVID-19 cases in Egypt continue to rise, as 361 new cases and 13 deaths were recorded on Tuesday night.