Egypt records 1,324 new coronavirus cases on Saturday – health ministry

Egypt recorded 1,324 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, which brings the total number of cases to 74,035, Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed  announced.

There are 13 patients fully recovered and left isolation hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries from coronavirus to 20,103 cases since the detection of the first case on 14 February, health ministry said in a statement.

The new cases were detected through the ministry’s investigation and contact tracing protocols, Megahed added.

The total number of COVID-19 deaths has now reached 3,280 nationwide, after announcing 79 deaths on Saturday.

Seven months into the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists and drug-makers around the world are frantically testing existing antiviral drugs or scrambling to come up with drugs that may prove effective against the virus to curb its spread until a vaccine is found.

Two of the most talked-about drugs are the Russian-approved Avifavir, and American Remdesivir. Local production of both antiviral medications began in Egypt last week by two local drug-makers, with Remdesivir having already been supplied to many hospitals.

Regarding the discoveries of new drugs to treat the coronavirus, a research team of the National Research Centre (NRC) has identified three natural substances that can inhibit the virus and are preparing samples that will be used in clinical trials, Egypt’s higher education ministry said on Thursday.

Moreover, Higher Education minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said on Thursday’s statement that Egypt is working to develop four coronavirus vaccines that have been registered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) among a list of candidate vaccines in global pre-clinical evaluation.

Though the vaccines have not been approved for human clinical trials, the NRC’s research team has completed the pre-clinical trials for one of the four vaccines and a report about it is being prepared to be presented to the health ministry’s Scientific and Research Ethics Committee for approval for clinical trials.

The country recorded its highest single-day rise of infections of 1,774 cases on 19 June, with the daily tally swinging between 1,600 and 1,100 in the past week.

Driven by economic concerns, Egypt began on 27 June to ease restrictions in place since March, lifting a nighttime curfew and allowing more businesses to reopen, including restaurants, coffee shops and cinemas.