Egypt decides to ban New Year celebrations to curb rising coronavirus cases, says PM

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Egypt has called off all New Year’s celebrations in order to stem rising coronavirus cases in the country, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said on Wednesday.

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“There will be no New Year’s celebrations or gatherings as part of the precautionary measures taken to confront the coronavirus,” the premier said in a statement released after a cabinet meeting.

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Egypt’s daily novel coronavirus caseload has been increasing steadily in recent weeks, and the Arab world’s most populous country has officially recorded more than 127,000 cases, including over 7,100 deaths.

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While the official recovery rate remains high, limited testing of the general population has stoked fears that cases are going undetected.

On Monday, Mohammed al-Nady, a member of Egypt’s national coronavirus crisis committee, told prominent talk show host Lamees al-Hadidi that “infections, in reality, are at least 10 times higher than what is officially announced, and that’s being kind.”

Health and Population Minister Hala Zayed told Wednesday’s cabinet meeting that 364 hospitals nationwide, with a capacity of 5,000 “care beds” and equipped with 2,400 respirators, would be ready to receive critically ill Covid-19 patients when needed, according to the statement.

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