Egypt has recorded one of the lowest rates of average daily Covid-19 cases and deaths since the pandemic began, but authorities cautioned people not to become complacent and emphasised the need to increase vaccinations.
The health ministry reported an average of eight daily coronavirus infections and four deaths during the week of May 1 to 7.
Starting on Sunday, mosques and shrines were allowed to operate normally with the return of religious and Quran recitation lessons and were opened for visits during non-praying times.
Daily cases and deaths have declined in Egypt over the past few weeks after reaching a record high of 2,300 daily cases and a fifth wave peak of 60 deaths in early February.
Globally, the number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths has continued to decline since the end of March following a spike caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant. However, Africa and the Americas have reported increases in the past week due to new Omicron sub-variants, according to the World Health Organisation.
Last week, the WHO said the pandemic has claimed nearly 15 million lives around the world, nearly three times as many as officially reported.
Egypt was among 10 countries responsible for 68 per cent of all excess deaths, with an average of 122 deaths per 100,000 people associated with the pandemic from all causes.
Egyptian health authorities have said in the past that the actual number of cases and deaths could be 10 times the official figure, due to limited testing and the exclusion of private laboratory results.
The officially reported cases and deaths still give an indication of the curve and, therefore, Egypt has gradually started lifting coronavirus precautions.
During Ramadan, the country ended its two-year suspension on the traditional Ramadan charity banquets for needy people on the streets and allowed Taraweeh night prayers.
However, vaccination rates in the country of more than 103 million people remain low. About 34.4 million Egyptians have been fully vaccinated, much lower than the 70 per cent target for mid-2022 set by the WHO.
The health ministry has posted videos on its Facebook page urging citizens to get vaccinated as momentum wanes.
In one video, Dr Noha Asem, assistant professor of public health and epidemiology at Cairo University, warned of the possible lingering effects of “long Covid”.
In another, she said the risk of death due to Covid-19 is up to 10 times higher in those who are unvaccinated.
“Ninety-nine per cent of those who died from Covid in isolation hospitals were not vaccinated,” said Dr Asem, who is also a member of the scientific committee to combat coronavirus.
Vaccination provides the necessary protection against being taken to hospital and death, while mask-wearing, social distancing and handwashing are “a way of life now”, she added.
Egypt has reported a total of more than 513,790 cases and 24,600 deaths since the pandemic began.