President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has followed up on COVID-19 in Egypt updates at a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Wednesday. During the meeting, Al-Sisi stressed the importance of upgrading the country’s treatment protocol for the virus, according to international standards.
He also instructed the government increase public awareness campaigns urging citizens to commit to state precautionary measures aimed at curbing the spread of the infection.
During the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Minister of Health Hala Zayed said that from 21 May, all 320 public and central hospitals in Egypt will test for suspected coronavirus cases. The tests will form part of the ministry’s strategy against the pandemic.
She added that these hospitals will check patient histories and conduct chest x-rays and blood analysis. Some cases will receive treatment at home, whilst others could be transferred to isolation hospitals, according to each case’s state of health.
Egypt has seen another significant increase in confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, as the Ministry of Health reported 745 new cases and 21 new deaths. The total number of infections now stands at 14,229 cases and 680 deaths. A total of 3,994 cases have recovered and discharged from hospital.
Meanwhile, Dr Hala Salah El-Din, Dean of Cairo University’s Faculty of Medicine, said in a statement on Wednesday, that the Qasr Al-Eini Hospital is not authorised to conduct PCR tests for the coronavirus.
The statement came after social media reports said a coronavirus testing service had been set up where samples could be taken at home, Salah El-Din denied.
Many officials have contracted the virus, including Ahmed Gaber Shadid, President of Fayoum University, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, Cairo University’s President Muhammad Othman El Khosht announced the formation of a committee under his chairmanship on final exams.
The committee will put in place rules and regulations for the final exams for final degree students and postgraduate researchers.
In a statement, El Khosht noted that the university will take all the required precautions, including social distancing and sterilisations and disinfectants. It is obligatory for students to wear masks whilst undertaking exams, and thermal scanners will be used to take daily temperature checks of students and staff.
Economy cannot endure a full lockdown against COVID-19 in Egypt, as it is already suffering significantly from the ongoing health crisis, according to Minister of Information Osama Heikal.
It is on this basis that the government has decided to coexist with the virus instead, Heikal said, as further closures could increase the crisis.
Talking to MBC Masr on Tuesday evening, Heikal added that the COVID-19 measures, which started in March, aimed to decrease the number of infections, and to maintain the wheel of production.
He explained that the government had expected an increase in the number of confirmed cases over Ramadan, and is prepared for all scenarios, including a complete lockdown.
“We are surviving a crisis caused by a virus that is still mysterious until now, and scientists and researchers are trying to study and understand it for the appropriate treatment and vaccine, which makes governments face strange and very unique situations,” Heikal said.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the Regional Director for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region praised Egypt’s cooperation with the organisation. He also mentioned in a statement that in Egypt, youth organisations have cooperated and launched initiatives for supporting psychological health for their peers.