Cairo, Dec 24 (IANS) Egypt has witnessed a sudden spike in the number of fresh coronavirus cases as the North African country reported 911 new infections and 42 deaths in the last 24 hours, Health Minister Hala Zayed said.
The two new tallies have increased the total deaths to 7,209 while and the caseload to 127,972, Xinhua news agency reported.
Addressing the media here on Wednesday, the Minister revealed that the provinces of Cairo, Giza, Alexandria and Qalyubia have registered the highest numbers of infections this week, adding that 363 hospitals have been prepared to receive infected patients across the country.
Zayed said that Egypt signed contracts on December 4 with the Global Vaccine Alliance and Immunizations (GAVI) to obtain vaccines for the novel coronavirus, adding that Egypt received the first batch of vaccines already.
The priority of distributing the vaccine would be given to medical staff in isolation hospitals, people with chronic diseases like cancer and kidney failure, and the elderly, Zayed noted.
Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said onthat New Year's Eve celebrations will be banned in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus amid the rising daily infection tolls reported recently nationwide.
Madbouy instructed all concerned authorities to strictly confront violations of the precautionary measures to avoid enforcing a lockdown that will bear negative economic repercussions.
Egypt announced its first confirmed coronavirus case on February 14 and the first death on March 8.
Around mid-June, Egypt had witnessed a peak of daily infections and fatalities before they started to gradually decline in the first week of July.
Amid declining cases and fatalities, Egypt has been easing relevant restrictions over the past three months as part of a coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.