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Egypt: Infections rise as government perseveres with virus 'coexistence' plan

Egyptian men wearing masks wait outside a centre of non-governmental organisation Egyptian Food Bank to receive cartons with foodstuffs on April 05, 2020 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images]
Egyptian men wearing masks wait outside a centre of non-governmental organisation Egyptian Food Bank to receive cartons with foodstuffs on April 05, 2020 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt registered 745 coronavirus cases yesterday, just one day after it announced Tuesday saw the worst daily number of infections in the country.

On Tuesday the number of infected cases rose by 35 per cent, up from 535 on Monday to 720.

Critics have said that the rise in infection cases is a result of the fact that authorities have refused to implement a total lockdown on the country since the start of the pandemic.

Egypt is under a curfew from 8pm to 6am. The measures are set to be tightened during Eid, which includes lengthening the curfew by four hours and stopping public transport and closing public spaces, but will resume after one week as before.

In early May the government announced it planned to "coexist" with coronavirus and that plans are in place for Egyptians to slowly return to work, sports clubs and religious activities in mid-June.

As part of these coexistence plans the government said it would take peoples temperature at the entrance to public buildings, metros and trains and would require people to wear face masks.

READ: Sisi orders reduction in coronavirus tests among policemen, detainees

WHO have called on Egypt to carry out more widespread testing as stories emerge of people with symptoms being denied tests and being turned away from hospitals because all the beds in quarantine were full.

Since the start of the pandemic medics have spoken out about the lack of PPE available to them and some have even reported being forced to buy masks with their own money.

Even doctors have struggled to secure testing, leading to outbreaks in hospitals. Entire departments have shut down including most recently Al-Azhar University Hospital which closed its doors after 35 of the hospital staff tested positive for covid.

General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi recently announced a reduction in testing for key workers paramedics and policemen and also detainees.

A source told Arabi21 that infections were increasing among policemen and they were being told to self-isolate at home rather than in hospital.

According to the same source there is a blackout on the figures to quell fear.

Near the beginning of Egypt's coronavirus outbreak Canadian researchers published a report outlining that the number of cases were likely to be far higher than official figures indicated.

Egyptian authorities have cracked down on anyone deviating from the official line on COVID-19.

Wednesday's cases bring the total number of official cases in Egypt to 14,229 with 680 deaths and 3,994 recoveries.

READ: Egypt arrests 14 Copts protesting church destruction

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