Egypt is yet to receive a reported case of the coronavirus’s new EG.5 variant, confirmed Ministry of Health and Population spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar in an interview with Ahram Online on 14 August.
Abdel Ghaffar’s statement means that Egypt is not on the list of 51 countries already reporting cases of the new variant – a list that features China with 2247 infections, the United States with 1356, and South Korea with 1040.
SHOULD WE FEAR THE NEW VARIANT?
EG.5 is a descendent lineage of XBB.1.9.2, a mixture subvariant of the infamous Omicron variant, published the World Health Organization (WHO) in a risk evaluation report on 9 August.
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, continues to pose a threat to older adults and people with underlying conditions or severe illness. However, WHO has reported that EG.5, while more transmissible, does not pose any greater threat than previous variants of the virus.
Abdel Ghaffar stressed on the WHO’s statement during his live television interview to assure citizens that the variant does not pose a greater threat.
Instead, the spokesperson recommended citizens seek free-of-charge vaccinations and medical support provided by the state, particularly older adults, to ensure a risk-free situation.
NOT THE FIRST, NOT THE LAST
If there’s a confirmed instance of EG.5, it would mark the second new variant affecting Egyptians this year, after cases of XBB.1.5 were identified in January 2023.
In his interview with Ahram Online, Abdel Ghaffar also confirmed that Egypt is experiencing its lowest-ever rate of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic broke out – with no recorded deaths from the virus since 16 March.
To combat any new variants, Egypt’s Ministry of Health routinely surveys potential cases by examining the genetic sequence of COVID-19 samples in public health labs to identify new strains.
Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.