People wear protective face masks amid concerns over COVID-19 walk in front of the closed Al Sayeda Zainab Mosque near markets that sell traditional Ramadan lanterns, in Cairo. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: An uptick in cases of the novel coronavirus in Egypt is due to family gatherings during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a medical official has said.

In recent days, Egypt has seen successive increases in the virus infections and resultant deaths, raising concerns in the country. On Sunday, the Health Ministry reported 1,536 new infections and 46 deaths of COVID-19, the country’s highest single-day rates so far. The latest figures have taken Egypt’s total virus cases to 24,950 and fatalities to 959.

“The cases have increased and spread has taken a family dimension due to visits during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr,” Dr Adel Taj Eddin, a presidential advisor for health and preventive affairs, said at a press conference in Cairo.

He added that the scale of the disease spread rather than the current increase in cases is a cause of concern.

“Medical institutions are still able to provide the service for the expected numbers of cases,” Dr Taj Eddin said.

He urged people to abide by preventive measures to limit the spread of the virus in the country of about 100 million.

The government has made wearing protective face masks mandatory in public places and on transport means. Non-compliance is punishable by a fine of 4,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh 952).

The government is also enforcing a nine-hour nighttime curfew nationwide.