CAIRO - Egypt said it registered 1,218 new cases of the new coronavirus on Thursday, edging the total number of cases up to more than 50,000 a fortnight before it is set to further ease restrictions.

The Arab world’s most populous nation closed itself off in March to curb the spread of the disease, shutting schools, restaurants and halting almost all international flights.

The pandemic shuttered Egypt’s vital tourism industry, which the government says accounts for 5% of economic output, but analysts say it may account for as much as 15% if jobs and investment indirectly related to the industry are included.

The country hopes to be able to welcome tourists back for the summer season and has said it plans to reopen its airports to scheduled international flights from July 1.

AB/ANA/19 June 2020 - - -