Minister of Health Hala Zayed said on Wednesday that the government is planning for some measure of coexistence with the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the coming period until a vaccine for the virus is discovered.
During the virtual weekly ministerial meeting headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Zayed reviewed the current situation of Egypt’s quarantine hospitals. She said there are 17 quarantine hospitals across the country, with 3,214 beds, 257 intensive care beds and 413 ventilators.
Zayed added that 13 further buildings, including university dorms and youth centres, have been prepared for patients coming in with minor symptoms of the virus. The installations have provided a further 2,288 beds, receiving a total of 1,374 cases of whom 574 recovered.
Of the total number of Egypt’s fatalities from the virus, 25% have died before arriving to the relevant quarantine hospitals due to their severe health conditions, she said.
Zayed also reviewed the government’s precautionary measures as part of its plan to coexist with the coronavirus whilst a vaccine is being prepared. The government plan will outline a series of measures that the public and private sectors and citizens have to follow to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus.
As part of the plan, Zayed said that the government will reassess the epidemiological situation every 14 days. The coexistence plan needs cooperation from all ministers and executive and supervisory bodies to ensure they are properly implemented and violators are punished.
The plan’s first stage includes general guidelines for individuals and installations. All companies, institutions, markets, construction sector, factories, ministries and methods of transportation have to commit to mandatory standards that the government will define.
The plan will also focus on raising citizen awareness of safety measures to avoid the virus’ transmission when dealing with daily activities.
The plan encourages citizens to continue with online activities as much as possible, whether it is making online purchases, using delivery services or making use of government services.
Areas or installations that pose a risk of further coronavirus transmission will be closed down.
All installations have to provide workers with cleaning supplies such as tissues and soap, and to prepare a quarantine area for suspected cases. They also have to reduce the workforce and the use of air conditioners, whilst undergoing regular disinfection and sterilisation.
The Health Ministry reported 226 new coronavirus cases and 21 deaths on Wednesday, raising the country’s total to 5,268 cases and 380 deaths. Up to 1,335 cases have recovered so far.
Madbouly said that the financial support Egypt requested from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle the coronavirus fallout will have no negative impact on citizens. He also said that it would not lead to an increase in product or service prices, adding that the programme is for structural reforms.
During the meeting, Madbouly highlighted that the government has taken a proactive step to enhance its ability to confront the coronavirus when it requested the IMF financial support. It came in accordance with the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and IMF Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), to fight COVID-19.
Madbouly also called on ministers to offer citizens some services electronically, and to continue to provide these services even after the pandemic has come to an end. He said that this would avoid crowdedness, with the kinds of services to be announced soon.
Earlier this week, Madbouly announced that Egypt had requested financial and technical support from the IMF as the country faces the economic implications of the coronavirus.