CAIRO: Egypt reported its highest daily confirmed cases in months, with over 911 confined cases and 42 fatalities, as authorities said New Year’s Eve celebrations would be canceled.
Health Minister Hala Zayed announced the numbers in a news conference in Cairo on Wednesday, which brought the county’s official tally to more than 127,970 COVID-19 cases including at least 7,209 deaths.
The increase came amid repeated warnings by the government about a second wave of the pandemic. Authorities have been urging people to take preventive measures, including wearing face masks and social distancing.
Minister Mustafa Madbouly said on Wednesday that his government would closely follow the measures to avoid a lockdown. The government said celebrations and other activities on New Year’s Eve are not allowed as part of their ongoing efforts to fight the pandemic.
Zayed added that Egypt is working to boost its supply of coronavirus vaccines as the number of recorded infections rises.
The country signed a contract to get vaccines developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) on Dec. 4 and is expecting further deliveries after receiving the first batch earlier this month, the minister told reporters.
Medical staff and people with chronic diseases would get priority, Zayed said, without giving details on the quantity of vaccines or timeframe. Local media reported that the first batch contained 50,000 doses.
"We are working with more companies to get the largest possible number of vaccines," said Zayed, noting that daily cases had been rising gradually since the end of October and more sharply this week.