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The New Arab

Egypt expected to hit coronavirus peak as Eid festival nears

Egypt has reported more than 200 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 April, 2020

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Opinions are mixed within the Egyptian government over whether to continue curfew measures throughout the Muslim holy month.
Egypt will reach its peak number of coronavirus deaths at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to an internal government report.

The report prepared by the security and health services examines the existing number of Covid-19 cases and deaths and assesses the impact of restrictions placed on movement. The document, seen by The New Arab's Arabic-language service, was prepared for the government's Coronavirus Epidemic Crisis Management Committee.

It states Egypt is not expected to hit its coronavirus peak until the third week of May, which will coincide with the end of Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Authorities have agreed to continue the closure of parks and beaches over the month of Ramadan, which is scheduled to begin later this week.

But it is yet uncertain whether other restrictions on movement and gatherings will remain.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi earlier this month stated that the losses of an economic shutdown would be worse than those resulting from the Covid-19 illness.

In late March, Cairo imposed a nighttime curfew which is set to come to a close on April 23, around the expected start of the Muslim holy month.

Some members of the Coronavirus Epidemic Crisis Management Committee favour abolishing the curfew but continuing the prevention of gatherings in mosques and cafes during Ramadan.

Egypt has recorded more than 3,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 239 deaths. 

Government critics and epidemiologists have raised concerns over those figures, however. 

Authorities are testing an average of just 900 people a day. Experts believes widespread random and targeted testing is necessary to build a clear picture of the virus' spread.

However, the daily number of tests has increased to more than 1,000 and rising over the past week, a source in the health ministry told The New Arab. The rising number of tests is due to increased testing among health professionals and the arrival of medical supplies from China, they added.

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