Egypt has consolidated its capabilities against the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, ordering local manufacturers of protective medical equipment to channel their production to public hospitals, while the government has announced EGP 1bn emergency funding for health services.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across Egypt has now reached 1,173. State officials confirmed, however, that they are able to contain the virus through testing, tracing, isolation, and treatment. This comes alongside restrictive measures that include a night-time curfew and the closure of many workplaces, as well as all mosques, schools, and tourist sites, among other moves.
The civil society, along with Egyptian expatriates, have volunteered to join nationwide efforts to fight the pandemic.
In Alexandria alone, there are four initiatives, with one aimed at supporting irregular workers by raising donations to help them.
Other initiatives aim at distributing face masks, sterile materials, and sterilising streets, while Alexandria’s doctors have launched a Facebook group for medical consultations. The group is open to the public to ask health-related questions while staying at home.
It aims to reduce the burden on medical facilities and encourage Egyptians to stay home by offering only urgent consultations, according to the Facebook group’s banner. Doctors will not offer a final diagnosis or prescription without taking into consideration the patient’s medical history.
An Egyptian dentist has also launched an online initiative, providing a range of services to patients without their need to leave their homes.
The initiative was started by Dr Nour El-Din Mostafa, member of the International Congress of Oral Implantology at New York University, aiming at providing free online consultations via social media.
The patient can send through a picture of his teeth and an X-ray image where applicable, with regular cases able to receive treatment from home. Urgent cases would, however, be able to receive an appointment to complete all the procedures in one session if necessary.
In both the above cases, citizens have taken to using social media to offer services whilst practising social distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Other citizens have been serving as doctors and nurses, delivery men, photographers, truck drivers, and other logistical services providers, in Beheira governorate.
In Giza and Qaliubiya, youngsters have started a movement against price gouging by providing food commodities at low prices.
Civil society organisations have historically played significant roles, albeit with restrictions. To support the state’s efforts, the Misr El Kheir Foundation has provided the Abbassia Fever Hospital with two ventilators as part of a plan to supply 10 devices to quarantine hospitals. The Misr El Kheir Foundation has also distributed food cartons and 10,000 protection bags to 10,000 families across Egypt.
Supporting the state’s efforts, the Resala Charity Organization launched a charity challenge, raising more than EGP 3m to assist families impacted by the current crisis.
Many Egyptian celebrities have participated in the charity challenge (Kheir challenge), raising over EGP 1m, to help the most affected families by virus outbreak.
Egyptian expats have also been involved in efforts to ease the situation back home. Those involved include Egyptian scholars abroad who have launched an initiative entitled “Egypt Can”. The initiative aims at supporting students in schools and universities nationwide as they undertake their distance learning experience.
The scholars are providing support to the Ministries of Education and Higher Education since schools and universities were suspended to try and curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The scientists participating in the initiative have also created online discussion groups that serve as platforms on which to place ideas for them to then be discussed and applied. This takes place during online workshops, with specialists from the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, to develop distance learning technologies.
These ideas include developing educational materials directed at students, particularly with maximum benefit for distance learning, and ways to conduct scientific research using modern methods.
Expatriate Egyptians have also participated in the “Let us support each other” initiative, set up by the Ministry of Immigration to support Egyptians stranded abroad.
Many expatriates abroad have already extended support to Egyptians stranded in Italy, France, Austria and Spain. This has included providing masks and sterilisation tools, as well as assisting the elderly and those unable to leave the house and buy all their requirements. Others have helped Egyptians in the US by booking airline tickets for them, before travel suspensions took place.
Religious institutions have also donated to confront the coronavirus outbreak. Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb has donated EGP 5m for Tahya Misr Fund (Long Live Egypt), in support of Egypt’s Covid-19 efforts. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria has also donated EGP 3m to the fund, contributing to the purchase of ventilators. It also urged churches to provide antiseptic and sterilisation tools.