CAIRO (Dispatches) – Egypt has registered 1,289 new coronavirus cases and 34 deaths, the health ministry says, marking another record of daily increases on both counts despite stricter curfew rules.
That brought the total number of fatalities to 879 and confirmed cases to 22,082, of which 5,511 people have recovered.
Infections rose this week during Eid al-Fitr celebrations, at the end of the Ramadan fasting month, despite the government bringing forward a coronavirus curfew by four hours to 5 pm and banning public transport for six days since Sunday.
However, some medics say they are muzzled in Egypt’s coronavirus response. At dusk on April 10, police entered an apartment in Qalyubia province, north of Cairo, and arrested ophthalmologist Hany Bakr.
The reason, his lawyer Aisha Nabil said, was an April 4 Facebook post in which he criticized Egypt for sending medical masks to China and Italy when he could not source them for his own practice.
Bakr, 36, who is still detained, is one of at least three doctors arrested during the new coronavirus outbreak on accusations of spreading false news, misusing social media, and joining a "terrorist organization” - a charge that refers to the banned Muslim Brotherhood and is often used in political cases - according to their lawyers.
All were arrested after speaking out over a lack of protective equipment or calling for better infection control measures, the lawyers said.
The Interior Ministry, which is responsible for the police, did not respond to a request for comment on the arrest of Bakr or the other doctors.
Authorities deny pressure on medical staff and say the government has managed the pandemic well.