In light of the significant economic losses caused by the partial curfew that Egypt implemented for several weeks last year, the government has been utterly reluctant to take similar measures.
But with the increase in infections again to more than 1000 recorded infections per day within the third wave of the pandemic, a much lower number than unregistered domestic isolation cases, the government has decided to take action during the holiday season that began in late April and ends with the end of Eid Al Fitr.
The government has resorted to integrating a number of dispersed holidays as a solution to reduce the crowding of citizens. It also decided to start the Eid al-Fitr holiday early, with restrictions imposed, partial or completely, on shops, clubs and parks.
Regardless of whether or not this will prove effective in avoiding the peak of the third wave of the epidemic that the country is going through, some believed that those successive holidays provided an excellent opportunity to impose a total ban in order to reduce the number of cases.
The government is trying to strike a balance between health imperatives and economic interests.
Egypt started vaccination operations for citizens late and on a limited scale in light of the delay in obtaining shipments of the vaccine.
The process began in early March according to the online registration system for those wishing to be vaccinated, who subsequently receive a notification specifying the date and destination of receiving the vaccine.
Although this method was due to the limited quantities of vaccines available to the government, in the opinion of some it was not fairly conducted, as Egypt has a large population that does not know how to deal with these systems.
However, Egypt is now receiving more doses. According to an official government statement, the country will receive 4.9 million new doses of various vaccines during this month as part of the global Covax mechanism.
With the state receiving these shipments, it may expand the vaccination process by deploying vaccination convoys in public places, but the real problem the state will face is citizens’ fear of vaccination.
Although about 35 million Egyptians are classified among the priority groups for obtaining the Coronavirus vaccine, only about 2.6 million citizens have registered their request for vaccination, according to the health minister’s information technology advisor.
The reluctance to receive the vaccine is not limited to citizens, but is even found among the medical teams whose vaccination campaign was launched at the end of last January.
The matter was remarkable for President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who said in a televised statement that the size of the response does not exceed 50% of the doctors and medical personnel who were targeted for vaccination at that time.
Although fear of vaccines is a global phenomenon, some in Egypt were afraid of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine in particular, and the number of registrants for the vaccine did not increase until after the arrival of shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine, although the latter was suspended in some countries temporarily due to its side effects.
Mohamed Awad Taj El-Din, the president’s advisor for health affairs, admitted that this reluctance was justified, especially since some vaccinations were not complete.