CAIRO - Arab media is reporting a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the Gulf, Iran and Egypt, as countries begin lifting curfews and other restrictions that were imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite a recent uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in Egypt, the country's sports minister, Ashraf Sobhi, told a press conference Monday that soccer players would be allowed to resume training June 20, and league matches would resume next month. Sports clubs are also expected to begin reopening during the next 10 days.
The sports minister's optimism was tempered somewhat by the daily health ministry report that almost 100 people had died from the virus on Monday and that nearly 1,700 new cases had been registered. Health Minister Hala Zayed attributed the rise to older people contracting the virus.
She argued that the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths has risen mostly due to older people with chronic illnesses not seeking proper medical care during the latter part of the holy month of Ramadan.
Egyptian media also reported that the country's Islamic scholars at Azhar University have issued a fatwah prohibiting anyone from gathering up used surgical masks to wash and resell. It was not clear if the practice was adding to the number of coronavirus infections.
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