Egypt Independent

Egypt confirms 4 new deaths, 33 additional coronavirus cases, raising total to 609

Egypt confirmed on Sunday four additional deaths and 33 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases confirmed so far in the country to 609.

Forty people have died from the virus in Egypt.

The four deaths announced Sunday were for Egyptians from Cairo between 58 and 84 years old. They all reached the quarantine hospital in serious condition, Health Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Megahed said.

Megahed explained that the newly confirmed cases were all Egyptian nationals who had been in contact with previously confirmed cases of the virus, adding that the total number of fully-recovered cases rose to 132 on Sunday, all of whom have been discharged from isolation hospitals.

Eleven recovered patients left quarantine on Sunday.

On Saturday, Egypt confirmed 40 new cases — a Jordanian national and 39 Egyptians who were in contact with previously confirmed cases, Megahed announced over the weekend.

Egypt also recorded six deaths on Saturday — a 73-year old Italian national and five Egyptians between the ages of 57 to 78.

Megahed said some hospitals are receiving cases already in critical condition, adding that three people from Minya and Damietta died from complications of the illness over the weekend on their way to the hospital.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has imposed a two-week nationwide curfew from 7 pm until 6 am beginning on Wednesday, March 25 and has also extended school closures an additional two weeks to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Egypt had already closed mosques and churches across the country, banned shisha at cafes, and asked non-essential stores and shops to close each evening.

Under the curfew announced on Tuesday, shops will be closed from 5 pm until 6 am during the week, while stores will be subjected to a complete shutdown on Fridays and Saturdays.

However, the closure decisions do not include bakeries, pharmacies, grocery stores or supermarkets outside shopping centers, Madbouly said, while restaurants will be limited to home delivery only during non-curfew hours. 

Violators of the curfew face penalties ranging from a fine of LE 4,000 to imprisonment.

Meanwhile, museums and tourist sites across the country closed down on March 23 and are currently being sanitized, along with efforts to disinfect government and private buildings, universities, and public spaces. 

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi previously announced an LE 100 billion comprehensive plan to counter the outbreak and its negative economic consequences, while the Central Bank of Egypt has taken steps to cushion the economy as harsh measures are implemented to contain the outbreak.

These include a three percent interest rate cut, providing loans to tourist establishments with repayment terms of up to two years, and an injection of LE 20 billion, or $US 1.27 billion, to support the stock market.

Egypt’s Central Bank also announced over the weekend that it would place limits on daily withdrawals and deposits in an effort to counter inflation and hoarding, according to a report from Reuters.

The daily limit for individuals was set at LE 10,000, with daily ATM withdrawals and deposits limited to LE 5,000.

Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer said on Sunday that LE 30 billion, or $US 1.91 billion, had been withdrawn from banks over the past three weeks.

Image: A police officer stands at the Qasr El Nil street during the first day of a two-weeks night-time curfew which ordered by the Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cairo, Egypt March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany