COVID-19 infection rate mounts in Egypt

The Egyptian Ministry of Health has recorded high rates of coronavirus infections as the number of people infected with the virus reached 1,497 over the weekend. According to those numbers, the total number of infected people in the country has reached 32,612. The ministry also announced the death of 32 people, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,198, or 3.7 per cent of the total infection. The mortality rate of the virus in Egypt is higher than that in most other countries, although the Egyptian Ministry of Health said that it intends to implement blood plasma treatment after it succeeded in saving many lives in Egypt.

Egyptian officials say that the actual numbers of people infected and deaths from the virus are much higher than stated, and that to know the real numbers, the declared numbers should be multiplied by around five or seven times. The Ministry of Health issued a statement saying that recovery cases increased to 8,538, with 380 previously infected having been discharged from quarantine hospitals. The ministry’s statement indicated that Cairo, Giza, and Qalyubia, the constituent governorates of Greater Cairo, recorded about half of the total number of infected. But the Egyptian government, at the same time, ignored the calls of many parties to tighten the curfew, increase the number of hours, and impose restrictions on gatherings.

The government extended the implementation of its mitigating measures by partial curfews at night from eight in the evening until five in the morning, in addition to restarting commercial and craft shops, malls and commercial centres throughout the week, while obliging all citizens in the streets and in public places to wear masks. But observers say that the plan of coexistence with the coronavirus epidemic announced by the Egyptian government includes items that are difficult to implement in Egypt, in light of the technical and economic efficiency of the country. For example, it is difficult to compel all citizens to wear masks, due to the hard economic conditions.

With regard to the high rate of deaths among the infected, the Minister of Health and Population, Hala Zayed, said that plasma is obtained from those who have recovered from the coronavirus after 14 days have passed with certain specifications, and it is being injected into critical patients with certain specifications. She added that doctors prefer that the patient has not reached the stage of artificial respiration. She added during press statements that “the whole world witnessed great success in this experiment.” She continued: “This experiment witnessed great success in Egypt, and those who have recovered have saved the lives of a large number of infected patients.”

In the same context, the adviser to the Egyptian Minister of Health for Research Affairs, Nohaa Asem, said that the plasma experiment is an integrated example of a system that has many details. She added, during a call with Al-Hekaya TV show on MBC Egypt, “the treatment from its first conversion from an idea to a research protocol… until now witnessed several stages, we have taken plasma from 32 people who have recovered, and the plasma was made available to 12 patients, three of whom have been discharged from the hospital already, and the rest are improving.” She noted that “those who were treated with plasma were in a serious condition, and the odds of dying were great.”

The Ministry of Health counselor asked those who recovered from coronavirus to go to the places announced by the Ministry of Health today, to donate blood plasma for use in treating the infected. “We are still in the research stage, but the results are very, very promising … We need to encourage people to donate the plasma, because it is a great hope for many, and for the dangerous cases needing artificial respiration.. the plasma is hope for them.”