Minister of Health Hala Zayed said on Saturday that the increase in Egypt’s coronavirus (COVID-19) cases “is the citizens’ responsibility.” She added that the Egyptian health system is among “the strongest health systems in the world that responded to the pandemic.”
In an interview with Extra news TV, Zayed added even families with members who are confirmed coronavirus infections do not commit to isolation and social distancing requirements as per government requirements. She called on Egyptians “to commit to social distancing as the state is undertaking significant efforts to curb the outbreak”.
Zayed’s comments came during her inspection of the Maamoura Chest Hospital, the Alexandria Fever Hospital and the Koum El-Shoqafa Hospital on Saturday. The ministerial visit came as part of the ministry’s plan to prepare fever and chest hospitals to also serve as quarantine hospitals.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported 488 new coronavirus cases and 11 new deaths on Saturday, raising the country’s total to 8,964 cases and 514 deaths. Up to 2,002 cases have recovered so far.
Zayed said that 225 of Friday’s 495 coronavirus infections were asymptomatic, while the rest had only mild symptoms. She also said that Egypt has 40 PCR test machines which are being circulated in the country’s hospitals.
The ministry added that Egypt is set to receive a first batch of the antiviral drug Remdesivir, which the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved for emergency use against the coronavirus.
The Ministry of Health had also earlier announced it is preparing 35 fever and chest hospitals across the country to serve as quarantine hospitals. They will be performing these extra duties on top of their day-to-day main duties of referral and sorting coronavirus cases.
On Saturday, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) announced the death of Dr Ahmed Ezzat Draz, Deputy Director of Menia El Qamh Health Administration in Sharqeya governorate, from the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Draz’s death is the ninth Egyptian doctor to die from the coronavirus, according to Dr Ehab Al-Taher, Secretary-General of the EMS, adding that over 100 doctors have been infected.
“We are still working on calculating the total number of COVID-19 infections, but they are more than 100 infections,” Al-Taher told Daily News Egypt on Saturday.
Draz contracted the virus over a week ago while on duty, with his death at the Ismailia quarantine hospital in Abu Khalifa reported on Friday.
On Thursday, the Nurses Syndicate announced two more nurses have died of the coronavirus , bringing the total number of nurses who have died from the virus to four. Ibtisam Abdel Fattah and Awatif Ahmed El-Barmawi died while on duty, with El-Barmawi having contracted the virus while working at Zagazig University Hospital, the syndicate said.
Nurses Syndicate Head Kawthar Mahmoud said in televised comments that about 50 nurses in Egypt have been infected with the virus.
Also on Saturday, Minister of Justice Omar Marwan ordered the closure of the Nasr City Courthouse for 14 days, after a visitor to the building was shown to have a positive coronavirus diagnosis.
Six housing units of 27 individuals in Nagaa Ad Dayr and Nagaa Abu Hussien in Sohag governorate were quarantined after several coronavirus infections were detected, the Sohag Health Directorate announced on Friday.
A residential block of 500 families was also quarantined in the village of Qaysaria in El-Mahalla Al-Kubra, Gharbeya governorate after several coronavirus cases were detected.
Mohamed Awad Tag Eldin, the president’s adviser on health and prevention affairs said on Thursday that Egypt has conducted 1 million tests for the coronavirus. These include 105,000 PCR coronavirus tests, and Rapid Tests, among other types of tests.