Egypt’s Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Kabbaj has announced that nurseries will continue to operate, but at a reduced capacity of 50%.
The decision comes as precautionary measures are tightened nationwide, to help curb the second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In recent days, the pandemic has been intensifying with an increase in cases and fatalities being reported across the country.
El-Kabbaj said that her ministry will monitor all nurseries to ensure their adherence to the precautionary measures, including maintaining social distancing measures and regularly taking the temperatures of the children present, to limit the virus’ spread.
If the number of COVID-19 cases increases, nurseries will be shut down, the minister said. She noted that 11 out of 4,000 nurseries have been closed due to COVID-19 infections, since their reopening.
Egypt’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases currently stand at 143,464 and 7,863 deaths, with the actual number of cases and deaths expected to be higher according to officials.
Last week, first semester exams were postponed until after the winter break, due to the rise in cases, with study in schools and universities to continue remotely.
Fears have increased among parents over the vulnerability of children to a new COVID-19 strain which has recently been identified. This was despite there being no evidence so far that the new strain of the virus, which is believed to be highly infectious, had arrived in Egypt.
Worldwide, concerns have also increased as the new variant may be more of an infection threat to children, according to scientists at the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG).
Earlier in December, several quarantine hospitals and departments at hospitals were allocated to paediatric COVID-19 cases.
Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din, Presidential Adviser for Health and Prevention Affairs, said in December that a large number of minors have been infected with the coronavirus during the second wave. He added that there is “department at Ain Shams University Hospital which is full of children who have been infected with COVID-19”.