Egypt’s health min. reviews coronavirus strategy, restrictions on tourist cities

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Wed, 18 Mar 2020 - 05:32 GMT

FILE - Minister of Health Hala Zayed - Courtesy of the Health Ministry

FILE - Minister of Health Hala Zayed - Courtesy of the Health Ministry

CAIRO – 18 March 2020: Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli on Wednesday held a meeting with the health minister to review the government’s measures taken so far to face the novel coronavirus, after Egypt confirmed 30 new cases and two deaths on Tuesday.

This brings the total number of the cases infected with coronavirus, known as Covid-19, in Egypt, to 196 and raises the official death toll to six, according to the Ministry of Health.

During the meeting, Health Minister Hala Zayed reviewed the medical procedures taken toward those who dealt with the infected cases, and the national measures taken to curb the spread of the deadly virus, including closing schools and universities for two weeks, suspending sport events and art shows, and halting flights.

Zayed affirmed that all the medical steps taken come in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and according to its recommendations.

After suspending flights for two weeks, some health procedures were taken, including putting all citizens coming from Umrah (Islamic pilgrimage) in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca in quarantine for 14 days, Zayed said.

She added that Egypt has received 27,000 thermometer guns and is set to receive 75,000 others.

Concerning the governorates of Luxor, Aswan and South Sinai, known to be among the major tourist attractions in Egypt, Zayed said some precautionary measures were taken, including banning workers in all tourist facilities from leaving these governorates for 14 days and putting them in quarantine.

The procedures in the three governorates will also include cleaning and sterilizing all tourist facilities as well as governmental and non-governmental facilities, Zayed said, adding that they will be unable to receive any tourists for 14 days starting from the date when the last tourist leaves.

The tourist ships also underwent precautionary measures, Zayed said, including testing all on board for the new virus, including visitors as well as the staff. Those who tested positive were quarantined. Concerning Nile cruisers, all those on board were put in quarantine for 14 days.

Earlier in March, the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization announced confirming 12 positive cases of the new virus on board the Nile cruise ship in Upper Egypt. The number then increased to 33 and other related cases were also confirmed.

The Egyptian state institutions and ministries are acting within the framework of a comprehensive strategy to fight the spread of the coronavirus nationwide, Presidential spokesman Bassam Radi told FM 95 on Monday.

This comes a day after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered allocating LE 100 billion ($6.4 billion), to fund an anti-coronavirus strategy and related precautionary measures.

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