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Egypt Coronavirus Update |Coronavirus-COVID-19 Updates in Egypt

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and travel: The situation around the world is changing dramatically. Various governments have changed their travel warnings to restrict travel during this time.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions in Egypt – updated 1 July 2020

International tourism will gradually resume from 1 July, allowing commercial flights from select countries.

Travel in Egypt will be restricted to specific seaside resorts that have been the least affected by COVID-19. Some of these locations include resorts in the southern Sinai, Red Sea province and Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean.

Upon entry, passengers will be subject to temperature checks, must fill out a Public Health Card, and are required to show proof of a valid health insurance policy. It is unclear if quarantine is required. Contact your airline for the most up to date information.

Local COVID-19 measures in place for Egypt

  • A nationwide curfew has been lifted from 27 June
  • It is mandatory to wear a mask in public, and you may be denied entry to vehicles and public transport without one
  • Hotels have resumed operations, and must follow new health guidelines that include limits on capacity and hygiene standards
  • There are restrictions on public gatherings.

Rules and restrictions may be changed at short notice. It is important you stay up to date with local news and media, and follow the travel advice from your government.

Egypt’s Red Sea resort cities of Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh received, on Wednesday, two planes from the Ukrainian Capital, Kyiv.

The commercial flights are the first to arrive in Egypt as international aviation resumed in and out of the country on 1 July, after a hiatus of nearly three months, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

In a press statement on Wednesday, the ministry said the plane that landed in Hurghada was carrying 173 Ukrainian tourists, while the plane that landed in Sharm El-Sheikh was carrying 124 passengers.

The ministry and the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board welcomed the incoming tourists with flowers and souvenirs.

“Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh are scheduled to receive several tourism delegations from a number of countries, including Ukraine, Switzerland and Belarus, in the next few days,” the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.

Egypt suspended international flights at all its airports on 19 March, as the country took a range of precautionary measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Domestic flights at the country’s airports remained ongoing, alongside freight and special repatriation flights for Egyptian nationals stranded abroad.

In mid-June, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the full health safety controls and requirements for the resumption of Egypt’s tourism in Arabic and English. These regulations will be applied in all types of hotel and tourist establishments, airports, Egyptian airlines, archaeological sites, museums and various tourist activities.

The move came under strict anti-COVID-19 procedures and safety measures

8 diving centres, 6 yachts, 2 marine activities centres receive health safety certificate to reopen

Arange of tourism businesses in the Red Sea and South Sinai governorates have been granted health and safety certificates to reopen, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said on Tuesday.

The businesses include eight diving centres, six yachts, and two marine activities centres, with the certificates allowing them to start business again as Egypt reopens to coexist with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The certificates were awarded following the verification that the businesses have met all the health and safety requirements set out by the Egyptian government and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Samia Sami, Head of the Tourism Activities Sector and Internal Offices at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, said inspections of a number of diving centres, yachts and marine activities wishing to reopen have taken place in the past few days.

The inspections were carried out by the joint examination committees of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Ministry of Health, the Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS), and representatives of the concerned governorates,

Sami explained that five diving centres out of the eight that obtained the certificate were located in the Red Sea governorate, in addition to two yachts.

“As for the South Sinai governorate, three diving centres have received the certificate, in addition to four yachts,” Sami said.

She pointed out that the inspection committees are continuing their visits to other centres, and yachts that have submitted requests to reopen.

In mid-June, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the health and safety regulations and requirements for the resumption of tourism in Egypt, in both Arabic and English. The regulations will be applied across all hotel and tourist establishments, airports, Egyptian airlines, archaeological sites, museums and various tourist activities.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has awarded Egypt the Safe Travels stamp. The move follows the WTTC’s recognition, on Saturday, health and safety regulations approved by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to re-receive incoming tourism to it.

The specially designed stamp will allow travellers to recognise governments and companies around the world which have adopted global, standardised health and hygiene protocols to experience ‘Safe Travels’.

During a video conference on Saturday, WTTC President Gloria Guevara congratulated Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anany, on Egypt’s safety controls that have been consistent with the WTTC’s issued protocols.

Guevara also announced her happiness at granting Egypt the Safe Travels stamp. She also expressed her happiness at seeing major traveller destinations, such as Egypt, joining the growing list of global destinations adopting WTTC private sector protocols.

“This not only shows the success of the WTTC Safe Travel stamp, but also demonstrates its importance to travellers and those who work in the tourism field,” Guevara said. She also noted that this stage is one of joint cooperation and concerted efforts between countries in the face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I am pleased with the decision issued today by the WTTC to grant Egypt its Safe Travels stamp. This is a milestone in our bilateral cooperation with the WTTC,” El-Anany said.

He added that the decision reflects Egypt’s commitment to the safe resumption of inbound tourism with strict, comprehensive hygiene safety measures starting by early July.

“We are looking forward to welcoming guests to Egypt’s resorts on the Red Sea and Mediterranean coast,” he assured.

Hotel rooms sterilised and left vacant for 12 hours after each check-out, hotel guests to have temperatures checked entering hotel premises

Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar Enaba has announced that Egypt will resume commercial flights at all airports nationwide starting in July.

In a press conference, Enaba asserted that aircraft have been sterilised, and only dry meals and canned drinks will be provided to passengers on board.

Enaba also said that passengers will have to sign a declaration on departure, while travellers arriving from countries with high rates of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections will be required to undergo tests for the virus.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anany said Egypt will be prepared to receive tourism starting from July in the governorates of South Sinai, Red Sea and Matrouh.

He added that his ministry has chosen these three governorates due to their having the lowest coronavirus infections rates in Egypt.

El-Anany asserted that all tourism establishments who are looking to re-open must first obtain a licence from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. He added that should any violations be found, his ministry will suspend tourism activities at the concerned facility and revoke the facility manager’s licence.

He added that hotel rooms will be sterilised after each guest has checked-out, with rooms then left vacant for 12 hours, to ensure the rooms are free of any germs. In the meantime, guests will have their temperatures checked when entering the hotel premises

The minister announced that workers at tourism facilities will have their temperatures checked using thermometer guns on a daily basis.

El-Anany explained that workers at archaeological digs across Egypt will also be required to follow government-set precautionary measures. These include wearing face masks and disposable gloves, and their digging tools should be sterilised and disinfected on a regular basis.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anany and his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Kovalchuk held a virtual meeting to discuss means of boosting tourism cooperation between the two countries.

During the meeting, the two ministers discussed means of cooperation, the preparations, and precautionary measure requirements needed in both countries to resume the movement of tourism in early July.

The discussions took place with a focus on Egypt’s most important tourist destinations to the Belarusian side, namely coastal tourist cities in the Red Sea and South Sinai governorates. It is reported that 90% of Belarusian tourists to Egypt prefer to travel to these governorates.

At the beginning of the meeting, El-Anany was keen to establish with Kovalchuk the rules for resuming tourism from Belarus, and whether there were any special requirements for tourism to Egypt to occur.

For his part, Kovalchuk pointed out to the importance of tourism relations between the two countries, stressing that Egypt is key tourist destination for Belarusian tourists.

He emphasised his keenness to send a media delegation to Egypt’s coastal tourism destinations to launch a media campaign promoting Egypt’s attractions.

Kovalchuk also invited El-Anany to participate in the tourism exhibition that his country intends to organise in the next few months, which El-Anany welcomed.

At the end of the meeting, the two sides agreed to intensify bilateral communications, especially at the technical level, between representatives from the two countries. It is anticipated there will be further tourism-related meetings between Egypt and Belorussia in mid-June. The meetings will include additional discussions on the health and safety controls and precautionary measures needed to keep the coronavirus at bay.

Egypt’s cabinet decided to exempt inbound travellers arriving on direct flights to tourist governorates from entry visa fees until 31 October – the end of summer season – to stimulate the gradual recovery of tourism.

According to a Wednesday statement by the cabinet, the decision aims to give Egyptian tourist destinations a competitive edge that will help increase tourist inflow this year.

It is part of the state’s plan for gradual resumption of inbound tourism after lifting travel restrictions and launching promotional campaigns to encourage tourism.

Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation agreed to provide a 50% discount on accommodation and landing fees in all tourist cities for charter trips, and 20% on ground services.

The ministers discussed Egyptian-German cooperation and the preparations and precautionary measures required in both countries to resume the flow of tourism.

The discussions came with a focus on the Egyptian tourist destinations that hold importance to the German side. Over 90% of German tourists travel to the Red Sea, South Sinai, and Marsa Alam areas, alongside other beach and leisure destinations.

El-Anany presented a detailed outline of the health safety controls that the Egyptian government has put in place in preparation for the resumption of regular tourism. Germany has also reviewed the rules for resuming tourism in Germany, as well as at the European Union (EU) level.

The two sides agreed to intensify communication at the technical level between representatives from the two countries. This will ensure consistency of controls related to the resumption of tourism and their fulfilment of all German, EU and Egyptian requirements.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anany has held a series of meetings to discuss the preparations needed for Egypt’s tourism industry to gradually resume.

These include the precautionary measures that must be met at all tourist establishments to ensure the health and safety of visitors and workers.

The first meeting was attended by high level officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, to set and define the health and safety controls that must be followed. These cover restaurants and tourist cafeterias, safari, diving and marine activities, among other areas.

El-Anany said that after the development of these controls is completed, all tourist establishments will be notified of what steps they will be required to undertake. Those who are willing to re-open under the guidelines will have to submit their applications outlining their operation visualisation to the Egyptian Hotel Association (EHA).

“The ministry’s examination committees will make the necessary inspections to ensure that these establishments are ready to re-open when the cabinet decides that it is safe for hotels to do so,” El-Anany said.

Many restaurants in Egypt are currently operating, albeit only with take-away and food delivery service systems available. This is in accordance with the health and safety terms and conditions that have been approved by the Council of Ministers.

The second meeting was held with the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) President, tourist chamber heads, and a number of investors in the sector.

During the meeting, the appropriate health and safety controls for the return of international tourism in accordance with global standards were discussed. This would ensure that the sector is ready as soon as regular international tourism returns and at the time determined by the cabinet.

El-Anany also met with leaders from the Supreme Council of Antiquities to discuss plans and preparations that must be undertaken at museums and archaeological sites. Health and safety controls for museums and archaeological sites have already been approved for their gradual reopening according to cabinet approval.

Atotal of 1,360 Egyptian expatriates stranded in Kuwait have returned to Egypt on eight flights, Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Monday.

Also on Monday, Haitham Saad El-Din, Spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Manpower, said that the returning Egyptians are labourers stranded in Kuwait due to international flight suspension.

Kuwait suspended flights to and from Egypt at its airports in early March, due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with Egypt also closing its airports to international flights on 19 March.

Four flights carrying 550 Egyptians flew in to Sohag, a further three flights carrying 665 Egyptians flying in to Cairo, while one flight carry 145 people has flown to Assiut

The flights were operated by a range of airlines, including Air Arabia Egypt, Air Cairo, Jazeera Airways, and Kuwait Airways.

About 57,000 Egyptian expatriates stranded abroad have been repatriated on 315 flights since the start of the global pandemic, according to Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar Enaba last week.

Egypt began repatriating its citizens stranded in Kuwait in May, after hundreds of Egyptians urged the government to help them return home after the suspension of international flights.

As of 6 June, Egyptian nationals arriving back in the country are no longer obliged to undergo a 14-day quarantine period at hotels or university dormitories. Instead, they must sign a consent form to undertake the 14-day isolation at home.

In April, Egypt began a large-scale repatriation exercise to bring its citizens home and pledged to repatriate all Egyptians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Orascom Development Egypt (ODE) has announced it will gradually reopen its El Gouna Hotels from 15 May in time for Eid Al-Fitr.

ODE said the gradual reopening plans will ensure all hotels in El Gouna will be open for business by 21 May, with its Taba Heights Hotels to also reopen on 21 May.

The Egyptian government has allowed for hotels and resorts to reopen to domestic tourism from 15 May. This comes after closures were announced on 19 March, as part of government precautionary measures designed to curb the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

According to government regulations, hotels will be permitted to operate at a maximum capacity of 25% until 1 June, and at 50% following this date. The number of occupancies will be in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, to ensure quality of personal protective tools and sterilisation materials.

“We have used the temporary suspension of hotel operations to monitor WHO guidelines, government mandates and public health advancements to tailor and implement sanitation and staff training programmes that ensure our hotels continue to provide a safe haven for our guests and staff,” said Abdelhamid Abouyoussef, interim CEO at ODE.

“Since International travel from and to Egypt remains closed, we expect domestic travel to pick up, with local occupancies increasing more than usual in El Gouna. Moreover, in appreciation of the situation and the travel uncertainties, the Group has released flexible booking terms and conditions. This initiative helped maintain decent short-term demand levels”, he added.

In late March, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced that tourism sector revenues recorded their highest level ever in Egypt`s history. Revenues were a ground-breaking $13bn in calendar year (CY) 2019, compared to $11.6bn in CY 2018, and the previous peak $12.5bn in CY 2010.

The global tourism sector is currently suffering huge losses due to the spread of the coronavirus, as most countries have put in place travel restrictions.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that international flight would continue to be suspended until 15 April. The flight suspension was originally imposed between 19-31 March, as part of the state’s efforts to contain the pandemic.

Director and Head of Macroeconomic Analysis at EFG Hermes, Mohamed Abo Basha, told Daily News Egypt that he expects Egypt’s tourism revenues to slow down. He projected figures of between $10.5-11bn in FY 2020, down from the original $15bn estimations before the crisis.

Meanwhile, Reham ElDesoki, an independent Cairo-based senior economist, expects a 20-30% drop in Egypt’s tourism revenues in FY 2020 on the back of the coronavirus. She added that the last quarter of the FY is always considered one of the high seasons for Egypt’s tourism.

Elhamy El-Zayat, former chairperson of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF), said the highly infectious disease has negatively affected the worldwide tourism sector. According to CY 2019 figures, Egypt`s tourism sector achieved an average monthly revenue of roughly $1.3bn, which doubles in the high seasons, he noted.

He also said that March and the first half of April are considered part of the tourism high season, but that this has now been overshadowed by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which will be reflected in a drop in revenues.

El-Zayat believes tourism will return to its normal rates by June 2021, based on updates coming in from around the world. He said that if the Olympic Games and Dubai Expo 2020, among other events, are confirmed to take place as scheduled, people will feel safe to travel.

The current period will be a fierce test for Egypt’s tourism sector due to the suspension of all its activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, tourism development companies have said. The tough times have been further compounded by the government’s suspension of all international flights in and out of the country, as well as flight suspensions worldwide.

The companies said the crisis requires strong marketing solutions that differ from the tools tapped during the Middle East’s security crises of the last 10 years or the 2008 global financial crisis.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic will change the nature of demand for some tourism products, Asser Hamdy, Chairperson of Orientals for Urban Development (OUD), said.

He said that the limited number of people, so far, infected with the coronavirus in Egypt must be marketed well to increase the post-crisis demand, which would make Egypt a safe haven. Hamdy called on companies to prepare for a new type of marketing campaign to promote tourism in Egypt following the coronavirus pandemic.

He added that the coming period may witness a boom in tourist housing sales in Red Sea resorts, but there will be a change in the type of units required, ranging from large villas to small studio apartments.

Egypt’s tourism income increased in the past year to $13.1bn, compared to $11.6bn during the previous year.

According to an official at the General Authority for Tourism Development, the Ministry of Tourism’s investment arm, the estimated numbers of tourist housing units on the Red Sea, South Sinai, and North Coast coasts range from 80,000 to 100,000 units. The official added that demand for purchasing units is active from April to August, in conjunction with the influx of expatriate Egyptians and Arabs to Egypt.

“The demand may be almost suspended now. The purchase rates may not exceed 2% to 4% due to the circumstances surrounding the world,” he said.

Hamdy said that the current period has seen many tourism conferences cancelled, including in Saudi Arabia’s coastal towns of Jeddah and Dammam, and Dubai’s Arab Tourism Forum in Dubai. These conferences are good windows for marketing Egyptian projects and resorts.

In South Sinai, President of the Tourist Investments Association, Tamer Makram, said that tourism housing sales, like other tourism products, have stopped.

Tourism investment requires a new type in Egypt, according to Ahmed Hassan, Chairperson of Marriott Hills for Tourism Investment. He also said that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak will reveal the need to invest in tourist housing units that are compatible with the environment, as well as the need for medical tourism investments.

He adds that Egypt very much needs this type of investment, which is capable of attracting a new type of tourism inflow to Egypt, particularly heavy spenders.

Marriott Hills for Tourism Investment seeks to establish a medical tourism complex that exploits natural resource in Egypt and market them to high-spending segments in Europe and the Arab Gulf.

“Although sales have stopped, many tourism investment companies are completing construction work, hoping that the crisis will end before mid-year,” said Abdel Rahman Anwar, a member of the South Sinai Investors Association.

Anwar says that there are no new projects now, whether hotels or tourist housing and all companies are focused on completing constructions that have already begun.

“There is no demand at all even if prices are lowered,” Anwar noted.

A tourism investor on the north coast says that companies are seeking to find alternative plans to replace the suspended flights to Egypt. The companies are, instead, betting on the domestic market after the end of the school year.

“The sales of the units will decrease significantly by the coming summer season, by between 70% and 75% at least, and the demand will be limited to the Egyptians,” he added.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities launched its third virtual tour via its website and social media platforms on Sunday. This tour was in Sohag’s Red Monaster.

Monday’s virtual tour will be at the Mosque and Madrassa (School) of Sultan Barquq in Al-Muiz Street, while the Ben Ezra Jewish Synagogue in Old Cairo will fill Tuesday’s slot.

The tours come as part of a Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities initiative, launched in collaboration with its scientific and archaeological partners. The virtual tours allow viewers worldwide to enjoy Egypt’s ancient civilization from the comfort of their homes and within the precautionary measures taken to fight the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The tours will be posted on the ministry’s official website and social media platforms, as well as the Experience Egypt website.

The Red Monastery is located 21km west of Sohag, and is considered one of the most important monasteries of Christianity’s early history. Because of the red bricks that make up most of its masonry, it is known as the Red Monastery, with white limestone and several pink and black granite columns also used in the building’s construction.

The monastery was founded by Saint Bishoy at the beginning of the fourth century AD. It has survived two fires over the course of its history, the first was during the Roman Period, with the second the result of Berber attacks.

All that remains of the Red Monastery is its church and surrounding fortification walls to the south, with remains of a structure, thought to belong to an industrial area, north of the church also surviving.

The main church is composed of a long rectangular space composed of three wings. The middle wing is the largest of the three. A church known as the “Church of the Virgin Mary” is attached to its south-west corner. On its eastern end, the monastery’s church ends in a tripartite structure decorated with murals done with tempera paint depicting Biblical scenes that include Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Four Gospels, and the Apostles.

The fort occupies the area south of the church, to which its structures are attached. It likely dates to the reign of Empress Helena.

It is a roughly square building that consists of four floors, the ground and first floors of baked bricks, and the top two of simple sun-dried mud brick. The fort itself contains several units that allowed the monks to reside in it for long stretches of time, including a church, cells, a storage room, and a water source.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities continued its series of virtual guided tours via its website and social media pages, with a second tour of an ancient tomb. The ministry-led initiative, which it launched on Friday, guided viewers through the tomb of Queen Meresankh III on Saturday.

The collaboration is taking place with the ministry’s partners from scientific and archaeological institutions and is designed to enable people worldwide to enjoy Ancient Egypt from the comforts of their home.

Queen Meresankh III was the granddaughter of King Khufu, builder of Great Pyramid of Giza, and wife of either Khafre or Menkaure.

Her unique underground chapel (labelled G 7530-7540) preserves beautifully carved and painted scenes of the queen and her family, as well as servants, artisans, and funerary priests. The scenes also depict the sort of rich burial goods that would have been placed in Meresankh’s tomb: statues and fine furniture; boxes containing food, clothing, and jewellery; even a representation of the black granite sarcophagus that was actually found in situ in her burial chamber.

This initiative comes within the framework of the ministry’s efforts to enable people worldwide to explore and enjoy the ancient Egyptian civilization from home, as part of the world precautionary measures to fight the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The tours will be available on the Ministry’s website and social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, under the slogan “Experience Egypt from Home. Stay Home. Stay Safe.”

The first tour was launched today in cooperation with the American Research Center in Cairo.

It explored the Menna Tomb in Theban Necropolis, one of the most beautiful Tombs of the Nobles in Luxor’s West Bank. It dates back to the 18th Dynasty.

Worldwide tourism sector is suffering daily losses due to the spread of the coronavirus, according to Ehab Abdel Aal, Treasurer of the Cultural Tourism Association.

Speaking to Daily News Egypt, Abdel Aal said Egypt`s tourism sector is estimated to lose between $2.5-3bn by mid-April, which marks a month since the country’s suspension of international flights.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced the suspension of all international flight from 19 to 31 March, as part of the state’s efforts to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The cabinet also announced on 24 March that international flight suspension will continue until 15 April.

“Our original expectations for Egypt`s tourism sector revenues before the coronavirus were estimated at about $16bn, thus on average Egypt`s tourism sector monthly revenues would stand at $1.5bn,” Abdel Aal said.

He added that as the current season is considered a high tourism season, so the losses will double. Abdel Aal also said that Egypt will lose up to $3bn by the end of April, if the pandemic was not controlled.

Adding to Abdel Aal’s comments, Elhamy El-Zayat, former chairperson of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF), told Daily News Egypt that 2019 figures show Egypt`s tourism sector achieves an average monthly revenues of about $1.3bn.

He added that due to the coronavirus outbreak and the halting of international flights, Egypt will lose an average of $1.3bn a month. He also said that the tourism sector is suffering worldwide.

El-Zayat expects that, under the best conditions, the coronavirus’ negative impact will last for about six months as it is a global crisis.

Abdel Aal said that as cultural tourism represents about 15% of Egypt`s total tourism revenues, the share of this sector’s losses would stand at about $400m.

In terms of the losses in Luxor and Aswan, Abdel Aal forecasts losses in these cities to be between $300-400m by mid- April.

In a recent report, the Arab Tourism Organization estimated losses across the Middle East at about $ 30.6bn if the epidemic is not controlled by the end of April.

As a result of flight suspensions and airport closure in efforts to control the coronavirus, the organisation expects airline losses across the Middle East may reach $14.4bn, if the crisis extends until the end of April. These figures confirm that the aviation sector’s losses worldwide will break the $200bn barrier.

Subsequently, the Air France-KLM Group is obliged to gradually reduce its flight activity very significantly over the next few days, with the number of available seat kilometres (ASK) potentially decreasing between 70% and 90%.

“This reduction in capacity is currently scheduled to last two months, and the group will continue to monitor the evolution of the situation daily and adjust it if necessary,” the group announced in a press statement.

As a result of this reduction in capacity, Air France will ground its entire Airbus 380 fleet and KLM its entire Boeing 747 fleet.

To deal with this difficult situation, the group has already taken several strong measures to secure its cash flow including that additional savings measures have been identified, which will generate €200m in 2020.

Besides, an initial review of the investment plan has reduced the capital expenditure plan by €350m, to which will be added the impact of the decline in activity on the value of maintenance investments.

Air France and KLM will be consulting with their elected employee representatives on measures to take into account the impact of the expected decline in activity, including a project to implement the partial activity.

Finally, last week, the Air France-KLM Group drew a revolving credit facility for a total amount of €1.1 bn and KLM drew a revolving credit facility for a total amount of €665m. As of 12 March, the group and its subsidiaries had more than €6bn in cash and cash equivalents

Despite the measures taken, the deterioration of the environment linked to the epidemic and the sharp reduction in its activity today leads the group to forecast a sharply deteriorated financial trajectory compared to the outlook presented at the publication of its annual results. Indeed, the Group estimates that the drop in revenues from the passenger business resulting from the reduction in capacity will only be offset by around 50% by the drop in variable costs before cost-savings measures.

As a growing number of governments enforced lockdowns curb the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), halting travel, and limiting access to museums and archaeological sites around the world.

That leaves self-quarantined people with a lot of free time and nowhere to go.

But for those unable to venture to outside, there are many museums and art galleries that you can visit from the comfort of your own couch.

Daily News Egypt lists a few places travellers can tour to stay entertained and connected to the world’s plethora of incredible cultural offerings.

The Louvre, France

The world’s most visited art museum, which received 9.6 million visitors last year, is now closed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19. But virtual-visitors to the Louvre can still enjoy its Egyptian antiquities department, remains of the Louvre’s moat, and the recently restored Galerie d’Apollon without having to leave their own homes.

Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

The largest chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City, was closed due to the national lockdown in Italy.

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country was forced into a standstill, halting public events, soccer stadiums and even closing the Vatican City. However, visitors can tour the interior artworks of the chapel, including its renowned ceiling and “The Last Judgment,” by the Renaissance-era painter Michelangelo.

The Sistine Chapel is well known by the frescos that decorate the interior, most particularly the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment by Michelangelo.

Petra, Jordan

Petra, also known as the “Rose City” is a honeycomb of hand-hewn caves, temples, and tombs carved from blushing pink sandstone in the high desert of Jordan some 2,000 years ago. Petra offers live broadcasts for the visitors.

You can tour Petra’s magnificent architecture, including the world-famous entrance, with enchanting views of the surrounding mountains, online as the city offers virtual reality tours in its mesmerizing location.

Yosemite National Park, United States

While some parts of the park are still open, those who can’t make it to California’s Sierra Nevada region can still tour the park, complete with sound. Through the virtual tour you can visit some of Yosemite’s iconic landmarks, including the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, which famed for the Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree, in addition to the top of the Half Dome and the eponymous Yosemite Falls.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

The Dutch Van Gogh art museum in Amsterdam, contains the largest collection of the post-impressionist painter, with 600 artworks and 700 letters.

Art lovers can visit the museum via a virtual guided tour. They can also take a tour inside the museum along with insights into Vincent van Gogh’s life through paintings including “Sunflowers” and “The Yellow House.”

Taj Mahal, India

The ivory-white marble mausoleum, built on the south bank of the Yamuna River in the Indian city of Agra.

The love symbol was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

Due to its sophisticated architecture and dazzling artefacts, the Mausoleum receives millions of visitors every year.

There are plenty of virtual tours that offer a look at the stunning Mausoleum and its beautiful memorial.

British Museum

The world’s oldest national public museum is another site that will showcase a virtual, interactive gallery. Visitors can roam the halls of the museum, peruse the exhibits and see famous objects like the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and Egyptian mummies.

Stonehenge, UK

The English ring of standing stones, Stonehenge site offers a virtual tour with 360-degree technology, bringing the mysteries of the famous stone to your computer screen.

The interactive tour also offers clickable white circles revealing more information about the unfathomable structure.

The Great Wall of China

China’s most famous attraction offers virtual tours of some of the most visited sections of the wall, 3,000 miles of which are walkable. With much of the country under quarantine measures, the virtual tour offers a reprieve from the crowds who normally come from all over the world to see the 2,000-year-old marvel.

Egyptian Opera House

The Ministry of Culture will broadcast nightly performances of some of its most iconic shows throughout its official YouTube channel. The free streams will go live at 9:00 pm. each day. It includes the plays, ballet shows and musical concerts.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The largest religious monument in the world, Buddhist temple complex in Cambodia, is now offering a 3D simulation of the temple, in addition to 360-degree videos that give people a glimpse into some of the main landmarks and historical features.

Machu Picchu, Peru

One of the best sites to visit is Peru’s 9th-century Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru.

People need to climb high to the Andes Mountains to discover the wonderful site and its monuments, and since it is not always accessible, there are plenty of virtual tours that take visitors to Machu Picchu, offering an in-depth tour with 360 ° views

New Orleans

New Orleans is famous for its vibrant atmosphere and exciting dining sites, but people can still get to know the city with some virtual tours.

Indeed, the city’s official website has created 360-degree sightseeing tours, so the visitor can get some of the best experiences, exploring the swamps, or landmarks such as the Commundars Palace.

Acropolis, Greece

This ancient castle is one of the best places to visit in Athens with its magnificent views and historical monuments, including the famous Parthenon.

History lovers can roam the site from their homes, through the virtual tour with detailed historical explanations for each of them.

Governor of South Sinai Khaled Fouda issued a decision to stop halt internal tourism trips in Sharm El Sheikh starting from Tuesday 19 March until 31 March, to halt the spread of coronavirus. Earlier, an international flight suspension period was announced by the Prime Minister.

The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities along with the Minister of Civil Aviation explained earlier that as of noon Thursday 19 March, flights will not be able to fly passengers into Egypt. However Egyptian airspace remains open to inbound charter or regular flights arriving on an empty leg to carry outbound passengers to their destinations.

They added earlier that the Egyptian national airspace is not closed and that the decision to suspend air traffic does not include domestic and air cargo flights.

On Wednesday, the governor of South Sinai issued a lot of preventive measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in Sharm El Sheikh, including stopping receiving any local guests in Sharm El Sheikh hotels, applying quarantine procedures to the crew working in tourist facilities in the governorate. Tourism police will follow up on the tourist establishments to ensure that they are taking all necessary measures to disinfect all tourist facilities, and also follow up with them to ensure their commitment in health follow-up and that they report any symptoms that appear on any of the working staff.

Meanwhile, Fouda suspended provision of Shisha in cafes, public places, cafeterias and hotels in all cities of the governorate, as part of the preventive and precautionary measures taken by the governorate, regarding prevention of coronavirus.

The governor said that the tourism facilities and enterprises that will violate the decision will be closed and will pay a fine worth EGP10,000.

The Governor of South Sinai confirmed that campaigns will run 24/7.

As of 19 March, air traffic between Egypt and the rest of the world will be suspended, however Egyptian airspace remains open to inbound charter or regular flights arriving on an empty leg to carry outbound passengers to their destinations, should tourists wish to continue their programme in Egypt, according to Minsters of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani, and Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar.

Al-Anani and Manar met on Tuesday along with top officials from both ministries, with the Head of the Egyptian Federation of Tourism Chambers, and the Head of the Chamber of Tourism Companies present, to discuss the mechanism to implement the decision taken on Monday by the Egyptian government to suspend air traffic in all Egyptian airports starting Thursday at 12:00 pm Cairo local time, until 31 March.

Manar said that Egypt National airspace is not closed and that the decision to suspend air traffic does not include domestic and air cargo flights.

However, all Egyptian airports will be closed during the period of suspension, as well as vital entities in the civil aviation sector.

Al-Anani pointed out that the period of suspension will be a good opportunity to rearrange and develop the tourism sector as well as taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety and health of the tourism sector employees.

Al-Anani said an international company is to sanitise hotels, Nile cruises, resorts, and tourist entities in addition to carrying out tests and analysis for the health condition of employees in the tourism sector. A training system is to be applied for employees to improve their skills.

People whose work requires dealing with the public are in more risk of being infected with the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The World Health Organization (WHO) announced days ago that Europe is now the world’s COVID-19 epicentre, and as tourism is the most sector whose workers deal with foreigners, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities adopted preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus among tourists and locals.

The preventive measures include continuous medical examination of hotel workers across Egypt. The Ministry provided 1,000 COVID-19 detection kits to fixed and floating hotels for regular examination of guests and employees. Additionally, 26 trainers will tour the country to raise awareness among tourism workers on the preventive measures that must be followed and how to protect themselves from infection.

Workers in hotels will be provided with all required logistics including socks, masks, and gloves. Moreover, the hotels contracted with highly-trained medical teams to deal with any suspected cases of the virus.

Head of the Chamber of Tourism Establishments Adel Al-Masry told Daily News Egypt that the Chamber is currently working to educate all restaurants about the necessary health measures to protect their workers in all tourist cities from Coronavirus, with an emphasis to report any suspected cases. He pointed out that the temperature for all workers is being measured regularly.

After any tourist delegation leave, an immediate disinfection process takes place, he said.

He finally assured that up to date, there are no cases between the staffs of the touristic restaurants.

Alaa Akel, CEO of Jaz Hotels Group and Chairperson of the Egyptian Hotels Association in Red Sea, said no lay-offs in intended, and the hotel staffs will work rotationally.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Valley Tours has implemented the same measures with its employees to fight the virus, according to Yasser Sultan, partner director of the company.

Sultan said that in order to avoid overcrowds in the company, Egyptian valley Tours provided a new way for reservation that limit the number of people in the place.

Cairo International Airport will receive three exceptional flights, carrying 601 Egyptians stranded in the US, Saudi Arabia, and Ethiopia, on Saturday.

The exceptional flights come as international travel remain suspended at Egyptian airports until July, due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The passengers underwent medical examinations, including temperature tests, upon arrival at Cairo Airport, under the supervision of the airport’s Director of Quarantine. They have been allowed to leave to undertake the 14-day isolation period at home.

On Friday, Cairo International Airport received eight extraordinary flights containing 1,510 Egyptians stranded in Saudi Arabia, Italy, and London.

A working group has been formed from the Ministry of State for Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development. The group will create an inventory of returnees’ data.

Returnees were requested to fill a form, in which the state will gather their data to help them gain employment on national projects. The returnees will also be able to receive support through the Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA), or at the available investment vessels.

The move aims to find jobs to those returning from abroad. Those who have had their contracts terminated due to the coronavirus are also covered by the two ministries’ cooperation.

In a statement on Saturday, Nabila Makram, Minister of State for Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates’ Affairs, said that a committee has been formed to study the qualifications of those Egyptians returning home.

She noted that data shows repatriated Egyptians come from 23 governorates, with the highest number coming from Sohag and other governorates in Upper Egypt.

Data also showed that the returnees are from a diverse range of age groups, with those aged 19-40 the highest. The 40-50 age group also featured significantly, with only a small percentage aged over 50 years.

Makram added that the committee has found returnees possess a variety of qualifications and specialisations.

Most have at least a preparatory school certificate, with others having secondary school certificates or BA degrees. Many returnees are coming from Kuwait, the UAE, Sudan, with small proportions distributed among other GCC countries.

The collected data will be used to enable the state to absorb returning Egyptians into the workforce, and provide them with real opportunities. It is expected that the local economy will benefit from the manpower and labour, with returnees involved in the country’s development process, the minister said.

Makram added that workers data is important in providing the right opportunities for their reintegration into sustainable development efforts as part of the government’s Vision 2030.

She stressed that the state has undertaken much effort to evacuate such a large number of Egyptians stranded abroad, especially those in the GCC, in such a short time.

On 14 June, Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar Enaba announced the resumption of air traffic at all Egyptian airports starting from the beginning of July. The announcement was made in accordance with specific preventive and precautionary measures.

About 57,000 Egyptian expatriates stranded abroad have been repatriated on 315 flights since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar Enaba.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Enaba said that Egypt will resume commercial flights at all airports nationwide as of 1 July.

Enaba asserted that all aircraft have been sterilised, noting that only dry meals and canned drinks will be provided to passengers on board. He also said that passengers will have to sign a declaration on departure, while travellers arriving from countries with high infection rates will be required to undergo tests for the virus.

He added that special seats will be reserved for passengers with chronic illness, while passengers showing symptoms during the flight will be isolated in the last lines of seats on planes.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Egypt has been keen to repatriate its citizens stranded abroad, due to the suspension of international flights.

All Egyptian returnees have been required to undergo a quarantine period, initially for 14 days, either at quarantine hotels or university dorms. However, earlier in May, the quarantine department at Cairo International Airport, affiliated with the Ministry of Health, reduced the mandatory quarantine period at government isolation units to seven days. Currently, returnees are responsible for isolating themselves at their own residence.

Atotal of 1,981 Egyptians expatriates stranded in Kuwait have been repatriated on 11 flights, Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Sunday.

On Sunday, five flights arrived to Cairo, one to Alexandria, three to Sohag, and two flights to Assiut. The flights were operated by a range of airlines, including Air Arabia Egypt, Air Cairo, Jazeera Airways, and Kuwait Airways.

On Saturday, the Directorate announced that 3,153 other Egyptians stranded in Kuwait were repatriated to Cairo, Assiut, Sohag, and Alexandria on 20 flights. On Friday, more 2,691 Egyptians were also repatriated from Kuwait.

Last week, Egypt’s Ministry of Manpower and Immigration said that a total of 22 flights carrying 4,237 Egyptian workers stranded in Kuwait arrived in Cairo.

Egypt began repatriating its nationals stranded in Kuwait in May, after hundreds of Egyptians urged the government to help them return home after international flights were suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of 6 June, Egyptian nationals arriving back in the country are no longer obliged to undergo a 14-day quarantine at hotels or university dormitories that were put aside as isolation centres. Instead, they must sign a consent form to undertake the 14-day isolation at home.

In April, Egypt began a large-scale repatriation exercise to bring its citizens home, pledging to repatriate all Egyptians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Atotal of 22 flights carrying 4,237 Egyptian workers stranded in Kuwait due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, arrived in Cairo on Wednesday, the Ministry of Manpower has announced.

A total of 32 flights are set to operate out of Kuwait on Wednesday, flying to Egypt, India, Jordan and Qatar. This is the biggest departure of foreigners from the country since the global pandemic began.

In May, Egypt began repatriating nationals stranded in Kuwait after local authorities there broke up riots by Egyptian workers with invalid residence permits seeking to return home.

Also on Wednesday, two EgyptAir flights carrying Egyptians stranded in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, are set to arrive in Cairo.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation announced an air bridge of 18 exceptional flights operated by Egypt Air and Air Cairo will be opened, to return Egyptian nationals stranded in Qatar.

In an announcement made on Tuesday, the ministry said that the air bridge, which begins flights between Cairo and Oman’s capital, Muscat, will transport about 3,000 Egyptians stranded in Qatar. The Egyptian nationals will first be transferred to Muscat from the Qatari capital, Doha, on June 13.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Egypt has been keen to repatriate its citizens stranded abroad, due to the suspension of international flights.

Last week, Egypt decided to scrap the 14-day quarantine enforced on its repatriated nationals. Under the system, the returnees were placed in hotels repurposed for quarantine in the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam. The repatriated Egyptians will now be able to undertake the 14-day home quarantine at home.

Egypt starts two-week nationwide curfew from 20:00 on Saturday

The citizens who do not wear face masks in public areas, including transportation, will be fined, according to a Ministry of Interior statement on Saturday.

The ministry statement said the move comes as part of state precautionary measures implemented to maintain citizen health and safety. It has also been put in place to protect public health and limit the spread of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Also on Saturday, Giza Governor Major General Ahmed Rashid said that citizens driving private cars and taxis will have their car licences withdrawn if they are not wearing face masks. The severe measures come as part of the governorate’s precautionary measures against the virus.

Rashid added that he has ordered the heads of districts, cities and neighbourhoods, to create follow-up committees in coordination with traffic officers. These would be present at parking lots and main roads to monitor cars and catch violators, whilst also ensuring they fulfil cleanliness, ventilation and social distancing measures.

Starting from Saturday, the nationwide curfew will begin at 20:00 for two weeks, rather than 17:00 enforced over the Eid Al-Fitr holiday. The gradual relaxing of curfew timings comes as part of the country’s gradual reopening, expected in mid-June.

Also starting on Saturday, Egyptians are required to wear face masks in all public spaces, according to a decree issued by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly earlier this month. Those caught without a face mask face fines of up to EGP 4,000,

Citizens are, until further notice, required to wear face masks when in markets, shops, banks, on public transport and in governmental or private institutions.

In mid-June, a gradual resumption of daily activities is set to be announced, covering sporting clubs and youth centres, alongside the reopening of houses of worship. This will take place according to precautionary measures against the virus.

Officials have previously stated that the return to normal life and a coexistence with the coronavirus is necessary to save Egypt’s economy.

The country’s infection rate has continued to increase, sparking fears that cases may significantly increase as the government’s coexistence plan is brought into effect. This could have a potentially significant effect on the medical system’s capacity to bear more patients.

The embassy said the flights will take place between 3-5 June, with four flights carrying 600 stranded Egyptians scheduled for the first day. This comes in addition to four other flights on 4 and 5 June, carrying the other 800 Egyptians, MENA added.

It added that it is accepting requests from citizens who wish to return home, of which it has so far received over 1,400 people.

The embassy noted that it is giving priority to citizens who have breached Lebanon’s residency system, including those whose passports hold exit stamps or who have overstayed their residence permits.

Since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Egypt has been keen to repatriate its citizens stranded abroad, due to the suspension of international flights.

In earlier remarks, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the total number of Egyptians repatriated in the current period is almost 16,000.

All Egyptian returnees have been required to undergo a quarantine period, initially for 14 days, either in quarantine hotels or university dorms. However, earlier in May, the quarantine department at Cairo International Airport, affiliated with the Ministry of Health, reduced the mandatory quarantine period at government isolation units to seven days.

It said that returnees who test negative at the end of the seven-day period will be allowed to spend the rest of their quarantine period at home.

The Egyptian government has put in place tough measures to protect citizens as the country fights the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, whilst also curbing the spread of infections. In turn, Parliament is closely monitoring the performance of these measures, and passing the necessary legislation to help Egypt overcome the virus.

In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Member of Parliament (MP) Makram Radwan, who is also a member of the Health Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, talks us through the committee’s role. He also talks on how the situation is being assessed, and what Egyptians can expect in the future.

Has a law imposed penalties for not wearing face masks in public been approved?

Yes, it was passed yesterday. It gives the Minister of Health the power to issue binding decisions on citizens in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the law stipulates that whoever does not commit to wearing a face mask would be subject to a prison sentence or a fine of EGP 4,000.

Are there penalties for not committing to the precautionary measures other than face masks?

Whoever objects or prohibits the burial of a dead person for any reason would be subject to the same penalty, either imprisonment or an EGP 4,000 fine.

When will the actual application of this law start?

It will commence from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette. The approval process for it has ended and it will be sent to the Presidency and then published in the Official Gazette.

Do you think that this law could prevent the spread of the coronavirus?

The law gives the Minister of Health the authority to issue such decisions, as the penalty will be applied after the minister’s decisions are issued.

Are our hospitals at full capacity or is there still room for more patients?

No of course, Egypt has a world-class healthcare infrastructure. We have many alternatives, as there are hospitals under the Ministry of Health, university hospitals, hospitals affiliated with the armed forces, and hospitals affiliated with the Ministry of Interior.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced on Tuesday that citizens are obliged to wear face masks in public for two weeks starting from 30 May. Those who are found without face masks whilst in public will face fines of up to EGP 4,000 and possible imprisonment.

In a statement, the cabinet extended the nationwide night time curfew from 20:00 to 06:00 daily, for a further two weeks after the Eid Al-Fitr holidays, which will take place from 24 to 29 May.

The extensive closures, night time curfew and obligation for face masks come as part of the country’s ongoing precautionary measures.

All cafes, casinos and nightclubs, public parks, and beaches will remain closed, while restaurants will only be able to run delivery and takeaway services. Government services will also be suspended, and malls and commercial shops will be closed from 17:00 to 6:00. International air traffic from all airports in Egypt will remain suspended.

Bakeries, groceries and pharmacies are excluded from the shutdowns and closures, the cabinet statement added.

Further precautionary measures will be imposed during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, including the suspension of public transport, and closures of restaurants, malls, public parks, and beaches from 24 to 29 May.

The Ministry of Manpower and Immigration has announced that 665 Egyptian nationals stranded in Jordan arrived at Marsa Alam International Airport on Wednesday morning.

The repatriation flight comes in accordance with the airport’s announced operating schedule to receive Egyptians returning from abroad.

The repatriated citizens are scheduled for a quarantine period of seven days instead of the previous 14, according to new arrangements at Egypt’s airports to prepare for the gradual return to normal life.

Tamer Marae, Deputy at the Ministry of Health for the Red Sea governorate, said that all passengers will be quarantined at Marsa Alam Airport, and their bags will be sterilised. Trained medical teams will monitor the health of repatriated citizens, and accompany them to the hotels designated for their quarantine in Marsa Alam.

The medical teams will carry out daily medical examinations and measure body temperatures twice a day in the morning and evening, whilst also overseeing the hotel’s daily sterilisation and disinfection.

Tourist buses have been allocated to transport the repatriated passengers to the quarantine hotel in Marsa Alam, to prevent overcrowding.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Transport announced that it has sent a ship to collect stranded Egyptians from Saudi Arabia’s Dhiba Port, for their return to Safaga port.

The ministry said that it has arranged all the necessary preparations to receive the citizens, including quarantine arrangements and medical tests.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that three flights are scheduled to depart to repatriate 900 Egyptians stranded in the UAE. The latest repatriations from the UAE follow two flights bringing back 600 Egyptians flew into the country on Tuesday.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Wednesday that the authorities will return more than 16,000 nationals stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The flights, quarantine and the medical tests from May 3 to May 9 have cost the government 28 million Egyptian pounds (1.78 million U.S. dollars), according to a government statement.

Earlier in the day, 311 Egyptians stranded in Canada arrived back by an exceptional EgyptAir flight as part of the country’s efforts to return its nationals abroad.
The returnees have been taken to some hotels in the Red Sea city of Marsa Alam to spend 14 days in quarantine.

Egypt suspended the international flights on March 19 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Since then, more than 3,000 Egyptians abroad have returned home, according to the emigration ministry.

The Egyptian government has brought back stranded Egyptians from across the world, including the United States, Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, Rwanda, Chad and Niger.

The sterilisation operations were carried out during the night curfew. The initiative covered several areas including Gesr Al Suez, Abbasiya, Abdel Moneim Riad Square, and Ramses square. The initiative will extend to Giza districts on 15-16 May, including Al-Warraq, Al-Mounib, Al-Sudan, and Al-Ahram.

Sobhi such initiatives contribute to enhancing community participation to address problems facing the society such as the coronavirus crisis.

Two flights are expected to land at Marsa Alam Airport on Wednesday with Egyptians who had been stranded in Oman and Chad. A further 104 Egyptians returned home on a flight from India, as part of repatriation flights for Egyptians returning from abroad.

Tamer Merhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health in the Red Sea, said that all passengers were subjected to quarantine at Marsa Alam Airport, and their bags will also undergo sterilisation.,

Medical teams are being brought in who will monitor the health of the travellers, and accompany them to the hotels that have been set aside for them in Marsa Alam.

On Tuesday, Cairo and Marsa Alam airports received a number of special flights transporting 921 Egyptians who had been stranded abroad for several weeks. There has been much disruption in international air travel as most international flights have been suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Two special EgyptAir flights coming from Kuwait, and carrying almost 600 passengers, arrived at Cairo International Airport on Tuesday, Al-Ahram Arabic reported.

The first flight, carrying 298 people, arrived in the afternoon, while the other arrived in the evening, carrying a further 298 passengers. All returnees will stay in specially designed quarantine areas at repurposed university dorms in Cairo, as per the Ministry of Health’s recommendations.

Also on Tuesday, the Cabinet said that the state will cover the cost of those who have gone into quarantine at university dorms. Those who want to spend their quarantine at designated hotels in Marsa Alam, however, will have to pay for their stay. Egypt is set to operate several further flights in the coming days to return more stranded nationals.

Other repatriation flights include an EgyptAir flight with 151 Egyptians stranded in Iraq, which arrived at Marsa Allam airport on Tuesday. A special AirCairo air flight coming from both Dar es Salam in Tanzania and Sudanese capital Khartoum.

The Ministry of Religious Endowments released the regulations, on Tuesday, for the reopening of mosques across the country, which is set to take place on Saturday 27 June.

The ministry said that mosques will resume the five daily prayers as normal, opening 10 minutes before prayer times. They will close immediately following prayers. Funeral and marriage ceremonies, as well as lectures or other related activities, remain unavailable until further notice. Shrines will also remain closed until further notice.

Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that places of worship will only open for daily prayer services. They will, however, be closed to weekly Friday and Sunday gatherings for both Muslims and Christians, respectively.

Worshippers who chose to attend mosques will be obliged to wear face masks, bring their own prayer mats, and must adhere to social distancing measures.

Mosque areas for women and toilet areas will remain closed, and comprehensive disinfection and sterilisation efforts across all areas of the mosques will be regularly applied.

If worshippers do not commit to the precautionary measures, the mosque will be immediately closed and will not be reopened until the end of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced the reopening of places of worship across Egypt, with full precautionary measures in place to avoid the spread of the virus.

On 21 March, Egypt announced the closure of all churches and mosques, amid efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

The government will lift its nationwide night-time curfew starting on 27 June, according to Hani Youni, the media adviser to the Prime Minister. The move comes as the government begins to put in place its plan for reopening the country, as part of its coexistence plan with the coronavirus.

The night-time curfew, that has also seen restrictions on citizen movement, will be fully lifted from Saturday – except for public transportation which will remain closed from 00:00 to 4:00 – cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad explained in media statements on Tuesday.

Madbouly said that places of worship will be reopened for daily prayers from Saturday with the required precautionary measures in place. They will, however, remain closed to their respective weekly Friday and Sunday gatherings.

On Tuesday, Egypt reported 1,332 new coronavirus cases and 87 new deaths. The country’s total number of confirmed cases reached 58,141 cases, with 2,365 fatalities. A total of 15,535 cases have recovered and been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.

Whilst shisha remain off the menu, clubs, coffee shops, and restaurants will also reopen from Saturday, Madbouly said during a press conference following a meeting for the national committee to combat the coronavirus.

He added that they should ensure they do not exceed a maximum capacity of 25%. Whereas they will be allowed to close at 10 pm, commercial shops will close at 9 pm.

Moreover, cinemas and theatres will be allowed to reopen at a maximum seating capacity of 25% allowed. Beaches, gardens and parks will remain closed until further notice.

“All public transport will start working from 4:00 until midnight,” Madbouly said.

Madbouly also highlighted that wearing face masks in public areas remains an obligation, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

He added that a plentiful supply of face masks are available at pharmacies across the country. He further stressed that any facility that violates government measures concerning social distancing and wearing face masks will be immediately closed.

Madbouly noted that some coronavirus fatalities were the result of absentee healthcare professionals, and a commensurate lack of appropriate medical care being available.

The ministry said that mosques will resume the five daily prayers as normal, opening 10 minutes before prayer times. They will close immediately following prayers. Funeral and marriage ceremonies, as well as lectures or other related activities, remain unavailable until further notice. Shrines will also remain closed until further notice.

Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that places of worship will only open for daily prayer services. They will, however, be closed to weekly Friday and Sunday gatherings for both Muslims and Christians, respectively.

Worshippers who chose to attend mosques will be obliged to wear face masks, bring their own prayer mats, and must adhere to social distancing measures.

Mosque areas for women and toilet areas will remain closed, and comprehensive disinfection and sterilisation efforts across all areas of the mosques will be regularly applied.

If worshippers do not commit to the precautionary measures, the mosque will be immediately closed and will not be reopened until the end of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced the reopening of places of worship across Egypt, with full precautionary measures in place to avoid the spread of the virus.

On 21 March, Egypt announced the closure of all churches and mosques, amid efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

The government will lift its nationwide night-time curfew starting on 27 June, according to Hani Youni, the media adviser to the Prime Minister. The move comes as the government begins to put in place its plan for reopening the country, as part of its coexistence plan with the coronavirus.

Al-Taher stressed that the EMS managing council had nothing to do with that suggestion. 

A letter circulated on local media has showed a suggestion for the government to impose a two-week full curfew in Egypt to curb the outbreak of coronavirus. 

The letter was jointly signed by Dr Khairy and the head of EMS in Cairo Dr Shereen Ghaleb. 

Khairy suggested also applying the full curfew on weekends during Ramadan as the holy month is not normally the best time for irregular workers to do their jobs, besides it usually witnesses lower productivity, according to the letter. 

Such a measure, despite being harsh, would hopefully lead to containing the virus spread in a short period, the letter read. 

DNE attempted to contact Dr Khairy for clarification but he wasn’t available.

In March, Egypt imposed a night curfew from 19:00 to 6:00 as part of state efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic nationwide. The country’s total cases reached 8,964 on Saturday and deaths exceeded 500. Ahead of Ramadan, the government amended the curfew time to start from 21:00 to 6:00.

Health Minister Hala Zayed revealed earlier an upcoming governmental plan to coexist with the coronavirus until a vaccine is found, that ensures that all public and private sectors and all citizens would commit to the state’s preventive and precautionary measures.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly extended nationwide night curfew for two weeks (the end of Ramadan) with the curfew from 21:00 to 06:00 daily, as part of the country’s precautionary measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The announcement came during a press conference of Madbouly on Thursday together with Minister of Information Osama Heikal and Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait.

The prime minister said that the measures imposed by the government since the beginning of Ramadan will continue, the situation required stricter measures. He noted that some steps will be taken before the end of Ramadan to allow gatherings in public spaces, warning of harsh penalties for violators.

Madbouly stressed that Egypt has efficiently dealt with the coronavirus crisis and balanced between preserving health of citizens and maintaining economic activities, unlike other countries that saw complete collapse in economy due to full lockdowns.

“Citizens’ behaviours and commitment to preventive measures are the biggest challenges facing the government. The Egyptian economy must recover after the coronavirus crisis,” he said. “We presented an ambitious budget and we took into consideration improving the citizens’ level of income. The coronavirus situation in Egypt has been under control so far.”

“The 2020/21 draft budget included an item to increase wages and pensions by EGP 100bn as the state was keen that citizens should not bear additional burdens during the coronavirus crisis,” Madbouly revealed.

He warned of harsh penalties for those who do not abide by the precautionary measures, noting that up to 4,000 reports have been filed against violators of precautions to combat Covid-19.

He pointed out that the countries that adopted complete lockdowns suffered many problems, including shortage of basic commodities.

He continued: “We have taken all possible procedures so that citizens do not bear additional burdens during the crisis, and we have provided many facilities to the economic sectors to ease the Covid-19 impact.”

Moreover, Minister Heikal stressed that every citizen has a role in confronting the coronavirus and ending the current crisis.

He said the citizens can support the state’s fight against Covid-19 by following the precautions.

Heikal called on media outlets to continue its role to educate citizens about the seriousness of the current crisis, noting that they are also a partner in the confrontation process.

Speaking to parliament on Sunday, Madbouly called upon Members of Parliament (MPs) to approve the decision which has been in effect since i am on 28 April.

The decision was taken in accordance with decree number 168 for 2020 by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who accounted for the decision as due to the “serious security and health conditions” in the country. 

Madbouly stressed that the resolution will be applied to ensure national security, whilst respecting public freedoms at the same time. 

Madbouly said that Egypt has been affected by the impacts of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The government, however, has put in place a range of measures that have helped decrease infections and ensure the further spread of the virus is curbed.

He also said that his government is approaching the crisis scientifically and in accordance with the guidelines set out by the World Health Organization (WHO).  

Madbouly added that the Egyptian people maintain their confidence in the Armed Forces in their war against terrorism. He sent condolences to the families of military personnel who were killed in a Thursday terrorist attack in Sinai.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Universities announced, on Tuesday, the timeframes for the new academic year, with the first semester to take place from 17 October 2020 until 21 January 2021.

The council added that the second semester will be from 20 February 2021 to 10 June 2021. It also announced the schedules and measures to be taken in the new 2020-2021 academic year, due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The council agreed to conduct skill assessment tests for final year of secondary school (Thamaweyya Amma) students, which prepares them for entering colleges, to take place between 8 and 20 August.

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar issued directives, during the enlistment process for students wishing to enrol at Egyptian universities, for the adherence to preventive measures against the coronavirus.

The ministry will also apply a hybrid education system at Egypt’s universities in the upcoming academic year, to include both in-person and distance learning. This aims to reduce the number of students physically attending classes, whilst also applying social distancing measures.

The “Science Up” initiative was also tackled at the Council’s meeting on Tuesday, as the initiative aims to build a strong scientific environment in Egypt. This comes in addition to linking scientific research with the industrial sector.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research reported that about 446,528 seniors across 405 colleges are sitting this year’s final exams across the country at 27 universities. It reported that about 19,252 final year students have adjourned their exams until next round, due to the ongoing health crisis.

Egypt’s Minister of Education and Technical Education, Tarek Shawky, has revealed the measures to be taken for the new academic year, due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a televised interview, Shawky said that his ministry will activate an integrated education system based on both virtual and face-to-face classroom participation.

He added that students from kindergarten up to third grade of primary school should attend school every day, due to their need to directly interact with teachers.

The minister affirmed that students from fourth grade to sixth grade of primary school should attend classes in person three to four days per week. High school students will be required to attend classes in person two days per week, in addition to attending virtual classes.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education and Technical Education is looking into the possibility of allowing preparatory school students to physically attend school for two to three days per week. This would occur in addition to virtual classes in order to complete the curriculum.

Shawky pointed out that that the final schedule for the new academic year has yet to be confirmed. He added that the ministry is keen to apply social distancing and other precautionary measures in all classes, with no more than 20 students to be allowed in each class.

The minister also said that the upcoming academic year will start on 17 October, with the study period to extend over 33 weeks.

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar and Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat have signed a cooperation protocol to automate the whole examination process and introduce smart university apps.

The new system will run alongside the development of infrastructure and technological systems at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

The protocol, which will see total investments of EGP 4.7bn, will span over five years and include a scope of 11 projects.

The two ministries will cooperate on implementing a range of projects including: smart university applications; a learning management system (LMS); a creative educational content initiative; follow-up systems to national projects; and providing applications for linking nurseries, central care beds, and blood banks to university hospitals.

The protocol also provides for cooperation among technological societies, and the establishment of laboratories specialised in Internet of Things (IoT) technology at universities. This will run in addition to the mechanisation of services in the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research’s education and scholarship sectors.

Abdel Ghaffar said that the protocol is a translation of the government’s orientations towards digitisation and digital transformation. It is also in line with the ministry’s strategy focusing on implementing projects to develop the country’s digital transformation capabilities.

He also stressed the necessity of activating the electronic services provided to students represented in raising courses and conducting monthly exams electronically.

Talaat added that the protocol seeks to enhance joint cooperation between the two ministries. The completion of projects that are implemented aims to transform Egyptian universities into digital centres and develop their communications infrastructure to meet their requirements in achieving digital transformation.

This will run in addition to cooperation in developing technological systems at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to enable them to provide distinguished digital services, as part of the concerted state efforts to build a digital Egypt.

The central operations room of Ministry of Education said that it detected 16 cases of academic misconduct during the second day of the Thanaweya Amma exams (school leaving exams) on Thursday. The ministry stressed that it would take the required legal measures against those involved.

The cases were spotted at several exam committees in Qaliubiya, Cairo, Beheira, Beni Suef, Sharqeya, Giza, and Alexandria, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the ministry added that three students were allegedly involved in leaking the English Language exam on Thursday.

The ministry said that these students, who are from Qaliubiya, Beni Suef and Beheira, photocopied parts of the English language exam and released the photos on social media. All legal measures will be taken against the violators, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, 14 students and 3 invigilators in Luxor, South Sinai, Giza, Alexandria, Minya, Damietta, Qena, Beheira, Gharbia, and Matrouh have been transferred to the hospital after showing illness.

Thanaweya Amma exams kicked off on Sunday 21 June this week, under strict precautionary measures due the critical circumstances of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Over 650,000 Thanaweya Amma students have begun their exams across the country at 56,591 exam committees.

The Supreme Council of Universities announced on Tuesday that it will hold the final oral and written exams for all university seniors in July, with international students exempted.

During a virtual meeting with the council, of which he is also head, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar reviewed the preparations for the final exams. These are set to start from 1 July.

He asserted that every university is responsible for organising and putting together the schedules should exams be held in different facilities.

Abdel Ghaffar added that for foreign senior students who are currently outside Egypt and cannot attend the exams will be able to reschedule their exams after the return of international flights.

He said that during the exams, every university is obliged to apply state-imposed precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). These should be in accordance with the standards put in place by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Egypt’s Ministry of Health, to ensure the health safety of students and faculty staff.

Due to the exceptional conditions that Egypt is currently facing, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has contacted the relevant authorities to delay this year’s date for university enrolment. This will be until all exams for senior students have been completed and their exam results have been released.

Moreover, Abdel-Ghaffar announced that final year students have the option to move their exams until next year, with no impact on their academic degree or risk of failure.

For students in American diploma programmes, the ministry will extend the work of the Coordination Office of Admission to Universities after the two SAT2 exams, which are scheduled for September.

The ministry added that it will approve grades granted to students in British-system inspired schools and which are required for university admission in June following approval from the British Council.

Abdel-Ghaffar added that applications made by foreign students wishing to study at Egyptian universities will remain open until 30 November. The delay is to take into consideration that some countries have delayed the exams due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Several proposals have been put forward to develop e-learning technology for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Monday.

Madbouly noted that the proposals aim to prevent students from gathering at educational establishments. They also aim to ensure safe study with the coronavirus (COVID-19) coexistence plans in place.

The prime minister’s comments came during a meeting with Minister of Education Tarek Shawky, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, and Minister of Communication and Information Technology Amr Talaat.

Madbouly said that before the pandemic’s onset, Egypt had started to put in place e-learning technologies, but that it expanded to distance learning systems once the global situation became more serious. He added that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had also issued directives for the system to be expanded.

Madbouly, himself, has directed for an expansion in the Internet system’s absorptive capacity in Egypt, to accommodate the educational curricula for all students across the country.

Shawky said that his ministry had been investing in an e-learning and distance learning capacities before the global health crisis, but that the coronavirus had significantly increased citizen acceptance for them.

He also noted that the Ministry of Education had significantly invested in infrastructure, as well as digital content and curricula.

During the meeting, Shawky also reviewed a proposal for managing the new academic year. He explained that his ministry has a digital library containing the English and Arabic system curricula for all stages of the education system from kindergarten to secondary school.

He added that the Ministry of Education also has an educational platform and virtual classes, to which 13.5 million students and 1.3 million teachers from schools all over the country have registered.

He explained that there is a possibility of conducting live broadcast lessons for students in Grade 9 to Grade 12. There are also plans for a special final review electronic platform for those Grade 12 students who will be sitting their Thanaweyya Amma exams. This will come in addition to students being able to undertake the exams electronically.

Moreover, Shawky presented a proposal for the new academic year that would rely on a hybrid education system. This would integrate face-to-face teaching with distance learning technique, with students able to obtain the cognitive aspect and some skills through distance learning.

Abdel Ghaffar pointed out that hybrid education, considered a new model of learning especially given the current health crisis, is widely used in several universities around the world.

The minister added that the plan for the new academic year includes three processes, namely learning, evaluation, activities and services. Abdel Ghaffar noted that the students would need to attend face-to-face classes in the learning phase. This would take place in addition to electronic classes.

He explained that during this phase, the students will be divided into small teaching groups where all precautionary measures are taken, including the daily sterilisation of classrooms and laboratories.

The central operations room of Ministry of Education said that it detected 16 cases of academic misconduct during the second day of the Thanaweya Amma exams (school leaving exams) on Thursday. The ministry stressed that it would take the required legal measures against those involved.

The cases were spotted at several exam committees in Qaliubiya, Cairo, Beheira, Beni Suef, Sharqeya, Giza, and Alexandria, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the ministry added that three students were allegedly involved in leaking the English Language exam on Thursday.

The ministry said that these students, who are from Qaliubiya, Beni Suef and Beheira, photocopied parts of the English language exam and released the photos on social media. All legal measures will be taken against the violators, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, 14 students and 3 invigilators in Luxor, South Sinai, Giza, Alexandria, Minya, Damietta, Qena, Beheira, Gharbia, and Matrouh have been transferred to the hospital after showing illness.

Thanaweya Amma exams kicked off on Sunday 21 June this week, under strict precautionary measures due the critical circumstances of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Over 650,000 Thanaweya Amma students have begun their exams across the country at 56,591 exam committees.

The Supreme Council of Universities announced on Tuesday that it will hold the final oral and written exams for all university seniors in July, with international students exempted.

During a virtual meeting with the council, of which he is also head, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar reviewed the preparations for the final exams. These are set to start from 1 July.

He asserted that every university is responsible for organising and putting together the schedules should exams be held in different facilities.

Abdel Ghaffar added that for foreign senior students who are currently outside Egypt and cannot attend the exams will be able to reschedule their exams after the return of international flights.

He said that during the exams, every university is obliged to apply state-imposed precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). These should be in accordance with the standards put in place by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Egypt’s Ministry of Health, to ensure the health safety of students and faculty staff.

Due to the exceptional conditions that Egypt is currently facing, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has contacted the relevant authorities to delay this year’s date for university enrolment. This will be until all exams for senior students have been completed and their exam results have been released.

Moreover, Abdel-Ghaffar announced that final year students have the option to move their exams until next year, with no impact on their academic degree or risk of failure.

For students in American diploma programmes, the ministry will extend the work of the Coordination Office of Admission to Universities after the two SAT2 exams, which are scheduled for September.

The ministry added that it will approve grades granted to students in British-system inspired schools and which are required for university admission in June following approval from the British Council.

Abdel-Ghaffar added that applications made by foreign students wishing to study at Egyptian universities will remain open until 30 November. The delay is to take into consideration that some countries have delayed the exams due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Several proposals have been put forward to develop e-learning technology for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Monday.

Madbouly noted that the proposals aim to prevent students from gathering at educational establishments. They also aim to ensure safe study with the coronavirus (COVID-19) coexistence plans in place.

The prime minister’s comments came during a meeting with Minister of Education Tarek Shawky, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, and Minister of Communication and Information Technology Amr Talaat.

Madbouly said that before the pandemic’s onset, Egypt had started to put in place e-learning technologies, but that it expanded to distance learning systems once the global situation became more serious. He added that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had also issued directives for the system to be expanded.

Madbouly, himself, has directed for an expansion in the Internet system’s absorptive capacity in Egypt, to accommodate the educational curricula for all students across the country.

Shawky said that his ministry had been investing in an e-learning and distance learning capacities before the global health crisis, but that the coronavirus had significantly increased citizen acceptance for them.

He also noted that the Ministry of Education had significantly invested in infrastructure, as well as digital content and curricula.

During the meeting, Shawky also reviewed a proposal for managing the new academic year. He explained that his ministry has a digital library containing the English and Arabic system curricula for all stages of the education system from kindergarten to secondary school.

He added that the Ministry of Education also has an educational platform and virtual classes, to which 13.5 million students and 1.3 million teachers from schools all over the country have registered.

He explained that there is a possibility of conducting live broadcast lessons for students in Grade 9 to Grade 12. There are also plans for a special final review electronic platform for those Grade 12 students who will be sitting their Thanaweyya Amma exams. This will come in addition to students being able to undertake the exams electronically.

Moreover, Shawky presented a proposal for the new academic year that would rely on a hybrid education system. This would integrate face-to-face teaching with distance learning technique, with students able to obtain the cognitive aspect and some skills through distance learning.

Abdel Ghaffar pointed out that hybrid education, considered a new model of learning especially given the current health crisis, is widely used in several universities around the world.

The minister added that the plan for the new academic year includes three processes, namely learning, evaluation, activities and services. Abdel Ghaffar noted that the students would need to attend face-to-face classes in the learning phase. This would take place in addition to electronic classes.

He explained that during this phase, the students will be divided into small teaching groups where all precautionary measures are taken, including the daily sterilisation of classrooms and laboratories.

About 653,000 students will sit their final Thanaweyya Amma exams this year, supervised by 168,000 invigilators, according to Minister of Education and Technical Education Tarek Shawky.

During a cabinet press conference, Shawky said his ministry is preparing to provide students and supervisors with face masks and sterilisation equipment, to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This will come in addition to students and invigilators undergoing temperature checks before every exam.

The Ministry of Education and Technical Education will also ensure the classroom venues where exams are to occur are sterilised and disinfected before every exam.

In case a student is confirmed as having the coronavirus, they will be transferred to hospital by ambulance, Shawky added. The student will be able to sit the exam during the second stage exam period, with their marks unaffected by the delayed sitting.

The ministry will also limit the number of students allowed in every classroom during the exam to a maximum of 14, to preserve social distancing measures. Shawky added that the final examination schedule will be announced within the next 48 hours.

The final Thanaweyya Amma and technical diploma exams will start on 21 June, with exams set to start at 10 am. Students will, however, be obliged to arrive at the exam venues by 9 am, so the necessary precautions can be undertaken. Shawky confirmed that students can postpone their final exams until next year.

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar announced that university finals for those students in the final year of their degree courses will start on 1 July. Abdel Ghaffar added that about 400,000 students nationwide will attend final exams.

The efforts form part of nationwide precautionary measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Shawky said that 1.4 million students are set to take the final exams for the Thanaweya Amma and technical certificates over 20 days.

The minister’s comments came during a parliamentary Planning and Budgeting Committee meeting on Wednesday to discuss the Ministry of Education and Technical Education’s budget.

Shawky added that his ministry has requested EGP 132m in the draft budget for FY 2020/2021, of which the Ministry of Finance has approved allocations of only EGP109m. This is due to the financial burdens on the state, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

In the meantime, Shawky said that the government is addressing possible education system scenarios for the new school year which is schedule to start in September 2020. Such forward planning is seen as especially important as the current health crisis is expected to last for several more months.

Shawky added that a positive effect of the current crisis is the push towards using electronic platforms in the educational process, adding that Egyptian Knowledge Bank recorded 80 million views.

Earlier in April, Shawky announced that final exams for technical certificates will be postponed to between 13 June and 19 July, with the final exam schedule to be announced on 15 May. Technical certificate students were supposed to begin their final practical exams on 9 May, with the final written exams on 16 May.

For the Thanaweya Amma exams, they will be held as scheduled on 7 June. The ministry said that the upcoming exams will be held with full consideration for health precautions to ensure student safety.

Schools have been closed since 14 March under a directive from President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, amid efforts to curb the ongoing coronavirus outbreak as infections passed 7,000 nationwide on Tuesday.

Shawky added that for third preparatory students caught cheating or submitting plagiarised research projects will fail the academic year.

The Ministry of Education had earlier announced that research projects undertaken by students from the third primary to third preparatory grades can be submitted by hand or electronically.

In a press statement, Shawky said the ministry prefers for the projects to be prepared and submitted electronically.

It will, however, allow for hard copies to be prepared and delivered if electronic preparation and submission is not possible.

He pointed out that projects can be submitted as hard copies by home students, service students, integration and special education students, and Egyptian students abroad..

To submit the research papers, students should follow several steps to ensure it is done correctly. After preparing the project as a hard copy, it should be place in a sealed envelope.

The student must write the identification numbers and class for those participating in the project on the envelope.

If the student is in special categories, such as home students, they should add this information on the envelope. The envelope should be submitted to the school between 9 and 16 May.

Students who will submit research papers electronically should save the project file as a PDF format.

The PDF should contain the Code on the student ID, followed by the student’s school grade. If there is more than one student participating in the same research, the file will be named after the sender’s student ID.

To submit the project to the Ministry of Education, the students should log in to their account on the Edmodo platform, and find the icon “Research Project 2019-2020”.

After clicking on the icon, a project upload window will appear, for the student to upload the PDF file. All details, including whether the project is presented by more than one student and the codes for all participating students, should be written.

The project should be submitted via the Edmodo Platform between 9 and 16 May 2020.

Last month, the Ministry of Education announced that students should prepare one multidiscipline research paper for the whole year, rather than for every subject, to pass the academic year instead of final exams.

Students have to choose one project from the three suggested by the ministry. The project can be completed either individually or as part of a group.

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, allocated on Monday EGP 2m to support every innovation submitted to the Science and Technology Development Fund for combating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a meeting with the fund, Abdel-Ghaffar, said his ministry is attentive to scientific research in the fields of medicine, pharmacy, medical supplies, public health and information technology. 

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research launched the new initiative last month. It has opened the door for researchers wishing to submit innovative research proposals focusing on technological solutions to address the lack of treatment for the coronavirus and develop health capabilities combating the virus.

Abdel-Ghaffar has instructed that a joint committee of Egypt’s scientific research organisations is to be formed, to unify efforts for funding different projects aimed at address the crisis.

Emad Hegazi, the Managing Director of Science and Technology Development Fund, indicated that 134 research proposals were finalising their arbitration stage as part of the programme.

The 134 proposals include new medicines, masks using nanomaterials as an alternative to N95 masks, non-alcohol sterilisation materials, lightweight sterile medical clothing, and applications for different treatment protocols, said Hegazi.

The final exams for technical certificates have been postponed and will be take place between 13 June and 19 July, Minister of Education Tarek Shawky has announced.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Shawky said that the schedule for the final exams will be announced on 15 May. Technical certificate students were supposed to begin their final practical exams on 9 May, with the final written exams on 16 May. The minister has not revealed the reasons for postponing the final exams, although educational institutions have been suspended across Egypt due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Shawky said that the final Thanaweya Amma exams will be held as scheduled on 7 June, with full consideration for health precautions to ensure student safety.

In March, Shawky announced that students from the third primary to second preparatory would not take second-semester exams, instead preparing research papers for every course studieda before schools were suspended on 14 March. The papers will be submitted online and act as final grades for the year. 

Schools have been closed since 14 March under directive from President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, amid efforts to curb the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Egypt reported 139 new COVID-19 infections and 19 deaths on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases recorded in the country since the pandemic outbreak to 96,475 and the death toll to 5,160, the Egyptian Ministry of Health said.

During the meantime, 908 patients with coronavirus were cured and discharged from hospitals, bringing the overall recoveries to 59,743, spokesman for Health Ministry Khaled Megahed.

He stressed Egypt’s strong cooperation regarding the pandemic with the World Health Organization.

On Feb. 14, the most populous Arab country declared the first confirmed case of COVID-19 and on March 8, the first death from the highly infectious virus.

From the first week of July, coronavirus daily fatalities and infections in Egypt started to gradually decline along with highly increasing daily recoveries.

Egypt agreed earlier this month to prohibit anyone from entering the country without a recent PCR check proving to be free of COVID-19, with the exception of tourists coming by direct flight to Sharm El-Sheik, Hurghada, Taba and Marsa Alam airports.

The country resumed international flights in early July, after lifting a partial night-time curfew it has been enforcing since late March, and reopening restaurants, cafes, theatres and cinemas, as well as hotels, museums and archaeological sites, but with restricted space.

Easing restrictions is part of a government-adopted “coexistence plan” in recent weeks to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.

Egypt and China have partnered together through the sharing of medical assistance and knowledge to counter the pandemic.

Egypt provided China with aid in its war against COVID-19 in early February and China later sent the North African nation three batches of medical assistance.

Egypt on Sunday confirmed 139 new COVID-19 infections and 19 deaths. According to the Health Minister, this raised total cases registered in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic to 96,475 and the death toll to 5,160, said the Egyptian Health Ministry.

Over 908 coronavirus patients have cured and discharged from hospitals. This brings the total recoveries to 59,743, said Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed. He also stressed Egypt’s close cooperation with the World Health Organization regarding the pandemic.

The most populous Arab country announced its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Feb. 14 and the first death from the highly infectious virus on March 8. Coronavirus daily fatalities and infections in Egypt started to gradually decline along with highly increasing daily recoveries since the week of July.

Earlier this month, Egypt decided to ban anyone from entering the country without a recent PCR test that proves they are free from COVID-19, except for tourists coming via direct flights to the airports of Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Taba and Marsa Alam.

Egypt resumed its international flights in early July after it lifted a partial nighttime curfew it has been imposing since late March and reopened restaurants, cafes, theatres and cinemas, as well as hotels, museums and archaeological sites, all with limited capacity.

Easing restrictions is part of a “coexistence plan” adopted by the government over the past weeks to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.

Egypt and China have been working together on fighting the pandemic through exchanging medical aid and expertise. In early February, Egypt provided aid to China to help with its fight against COVID-19 and China later sent three batches of medical aid to the North African country.

Egypt on Tuesday reported 47 new deaths from COVID-19, the lowest daily record since June 13, as the death toll from the coronavirus in the country climbed to 4,399.

Egyptian Health Ministry said in a statement that 676 new COVID-19 infections were confirmed, raising the total cases registered in the country to 89,078.

It is also the second week in a row for Egypt’s COVID-19 daily infections to fall below 1,000, compared to the highest record of 1,774 cases on June 19.

Meanwhile, 549 COVID-19 patients were cured and discharged from hospitals on Tuesday, increasing the total recoveries in Egypt to 29,473.

Earlier on Tuesday, Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed announced that the provinces of the Red Sea and South Sinai recorded no infections in the past 24 hours for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak in Egypt.

Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said that the number of hotels reopened in 21 provinces since mid-May reached 590.

Egypt and China have been joining hands in fighting the pandemic through exchanging medical aid and expertise.
In early February, Egypt provided aid to China to help with its fight against COVID-19 and China later sent three batches of medical aid to the North African country, the latest of which was in mid-May.

Egypt has succeeded in decreasing the number of new novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections notably in the past 14 days. 

Despite the decline in cases, 320 hospitals across Egypt remain ready to accept new cases, according to Dr Sherif Wadiea, Adviser to the Minister of Health for Emergency Care.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health reported 676 new coronavirus cases and 47 new deaths. The country’s total number of confirmed cases reached 89,078 cases, with 4,399 fatalities. A total of 29,473 cases have recovered and been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.

The Ministry of Health also said that no new coronavirus cases have been reported in the Red Sea and South Sinai governorates, for the first time since the outbreak began in Egypt late February.

Wadiea told Daily News Egypt that there is no shortage of hospital beds in Egypt, and that all cases are accepted if needed. He explained that the decline in cases is due to the rapid response of the country’s health system to the pandemic.

He pointed out that awareness campaigns run by the Ministry of Health and media outlets have contributed to increasing citizen and patient awareness of the virus.  

“We cannot say that we had passed the peak of the virus as the word itself is not accurate, but we can say that the curve of infections has started to decline, which is a good indication for combating the pandemic,” Wadiea said. 

Meanwhile, Dr Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din, President Adviser for Health and Prevention, said that there are as yet no confirmed treatments for the coronavirus. Instead, the current treatments were originally designed for other diseases and viruses, but have showed some positive results with coronavirus patients. 

Minister of Health Hala Zayed and China’s Ambassador to Cairo Liao Liqiang met on Monday to discuss Egypt’s participation in Chinese clinical trials on the possible vaccine for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

During the meeting, the two parties agreed that Egypt would be a regional African centre for producing Chinese coronavirus vaccine that proved effective in curing the virus. 

Ministry of Health Spokesperson Khaled Mogahed said in a statement that the meeting addressed the cooperation between Egypt’s Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA) and a Chinese company working in the field of drug production. 

 

Also on Monday, Egypt’s Ministry of Health reported 627 new coronavirus cases, and 50 new deaths. The country’s total number of confirmed cases reached 88,402 with 4,352 fatalities. A total of 28,924 cases have recovered and been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.

  

Liqiang praised the cooperation between the two countries to combat the coronavirus, and extended Beijing’s support to Cairo at all levels. The Chinese ambassador also praised Egypt’s success in dealing with the health crisis. 

Meanwhile, Dr Jihan Al-Assal, Vice-President of the Scientific Committee to Combat Coronavirus, said that Egypt has now overcome the first wave of the virus, despite the infection not having disappeared yet.

In televised statements on Sunday evening, Al-Assal pointed out that Egypt has passed the peak phase of the virus. 

She further noted that though the notable decline in coronavirus infections is a good sign, the precautionary measures remain necessary to avoid any sudden increase. 

The world is now racing to find a cure for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and Egypt has been trying to catch up. While dozens of drugs are under investigation in laboratories across the world, Egypt continues running its own clinical tests.

On 30 June, Egypt’s Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, launched the first clinical trial programme to evaluate the use of Ebola drug Remdesivir in treating patients with the virus.

Professor Abdel Hady Mesbah, a medical consultant in immunology and microbiology, told Daily News Egypt that the drug has shown positive results in lab tests in several countries. It is the clinical trials, however, that are the major decisive element in deciding whether to approve a drug or not before advancing further.

In her statement, Zayed noted that subsequent batches of the drug would be produced in the period ahead.

In mid-June, Egypt’s leading pharmaceutical company Eva Pharma announced that it would start manufacturing Remdesivir locally. The move comes after the company struck a deal with the drug’s producer, US pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences, to take over distribution rights in 127 countries.

Based on the agreement, Eva Pharma will be allowed to leverage all technical specifications and manufacturing processes for the drug to hastily ramp up production, a statement by the company read.

Remdesivir has received global recognition, and was approved for use under an emergency authorisation to treat hospitalised patients with the coronavirus in the US, Britain, and Japan, the statement clarifies.

Meanwhile, the European Commission (EC) has recently approved Remdesivir’s conditional use for critically ill coronavirus patients. However, the drug has not been authorised yet for public use in Egypt, and no specific release date has been slated yet.

Amjad Talat, General Manager at Eva Pharma, has previously stated that the company is capable of producing up to half a million doses a month.

He noted that the drug will be sold at a lower cost tier of under EGP 2,000 ($125) per dose. The price goes up for “wealthier nations”, at $520 per dose for a standard five-day treatment course, as in the US, according to Gilead’s pricing. 

Survivors’ Plasma

Egypt’s Ministry of Health has also sought to use antibody-laden blood plasma from coronavirus survivors to help other victims still fighting the virus.

On 30 April, Zayed announced that therapy trials using the antibody-rich plasma would only be used as a treatment option on hospitalised patients with severe complications. The minister added that Egypt has “sufficient experience with therapeutic plasma exchange”. 

Egypt’s move comes on the back of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of plasma as an experimental treatment, an Egyptian Ministry of Health statement said.

On 6 June, Zayed revealed that the initial clinical results showed ‘promise’ and reduced patient need for mechanical ventilation. She urged patients who have recovered from the coronavirus to donate their blood. 

Dr Mohamed Aly, Professor of Internal Medicine at the National Institute of Liver and Infectious Diseases, told Daily News Egypt that recovered patients should donate their plasma quickly. This is due to the current thinking that coronavirus antibodies might vanish in three months of the patient’s recovery

Aly added that 80% of infected cases do not develop acute complications, with the number of cases needing critical medical care having noticeably decreased.

Avigan

Despite the inconclusive results, Japanese antiviral drug Avigan has received plaudits in Egypt as a treatment for the coronavirus. 

On 10 April, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar announced that Egypt had acquired samples of the Japanese-developed drug, Avigan, in March to use in clinical trials.

Abdel Ghaffar noted that Egypt would undertake collaborative research with Japan to determine the drug’s efficacy in treating the coronavirus. On 16 June, the Egyptian Embassy in Tokyo signed a diplomatic memorandum with the Japanese government to provide Egypt with free supplies of anti-flu drug Avigan.

On 23 June, Egyptian pharmaceutical company Rameda announced it would start manufacturing a therapeutic equivalent of Avigan dubbed “Anviziram”, that would deliver the same active moiety. Rameda later revealed it would be getting a boost in export orders from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Yemen.

Later on, another Egyptian pharmaceutical company, Mash Premiere, declared that it would commence producing a generic version of Avigan under the brand name of “Prevanork”. The company said that the new drug would be capable of flushing out the virus in four days, and would be sold at EGP 500 ($31) for the full course of treatment.

Other drugs en route

Avigan was not the first drug to be secured by Egypt, as on 21 June, the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) announced that it had signed an agreement with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, to obtain its promising coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine has been thoroughly tested by scientists at the University of Oxford, and its release is expected by the autumn of 2020, according to the Oxford research team.

Moreover, Egypt has also forged ahead with its own clinical trials into the controversial antimalarial drug Hydroxychloroquine. In early June, Egypt’s Minister of Health Hala Zayed announced that the drug had yielded “tremendous results”. The drug was highly touted by US President Donald Trump despite little evidence of its effectiveness.

Mesbah notes that there is still no guaranteed cure for the coronavirus yet, only saying that “all testing in labs is part of clinical trials”. 

He further explained that the differences in medication results of some drugs used in treating the coronavirus are associated with many factors like virus mutations, immune responses, and the unconstrained greed of the pharmaceutical companies that are on a war footing.

The virus has gone through a series of mutations over the last six months that have made its transmission easier, Mesbah added, noting that the problem is not in the strength of the virus but its rapid spread.

Egypt is now ranked 24 in the world for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases with a total of 79,254 cases reached on 9 July. It is also  and ranked 194 in terms of the recovery rate of 28.7%, according to the WHO and the country’s Ministry of Health.

However, the first week of July witnessed a noticeable decline in the number of cases. Therefore, Aly sees that if the numbers keep declining, we might reach zero coronavirus cases within three months.

Aly called on the Ministry of Health to expose the number of daily swabs in its report as a means of more accurately assessing the situation. He noted that the actual number of infected cases is several times greater than official figures.

It is too hard to say if Egypt has passed the peak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Dr Hossam Hosni, head of the Scientific Committee to Combat Coronavirus.

Hosni added that to predict the timing of the infections’ peak, the number of cases should be stable for an entire week. 

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health reported 1,025 new coronavirus cases, and 75 new deaths. The country’s total number of confirmed cases reached 78,304 cases, and a total of 3,564 fatalities, according to Ministry of Health. A total of 22,241 cases have recovered and been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.

In televised statements on Tuesday evening, Hosni added that there are local clinical studies which have been conducted on drugs and vaccines for treating the virus. The initial results of these trials are promising and “we are close to producing these drugs”, he said.

Hosni indicated that the pandemic’s severity has gradually decreased compared to past weeks, and it is necessary to preserve this achievement. He called on citizens to remain respectful of the state-imposed precautionary measures to curb the infection’s spread.

He pointed out that good news is expected regarding Egyptian-produced drugs aimed at treating the coronavirus. He noted that malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was being used with only critical cases.

Hydroxychloroquine is part of Egypt’s treatment protocol for the coronavirus, but it is only provided according to the status of each case. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the drug has not been effective in curing patients with the virus. 

Meanwhile, Dr Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din, Advisor to the President for Health and Prevention, said that medications and beds are available at hospitals across the country. He added that Egypt also has a strategic stock of medicines if needed.

Tag El-Din pointed out that the pandemic is still spreading globally, and it is necessary to adhere to social distancing rules and stay away from crowded areas. He stressed the importance of wearing face masks and remaining committed to personal hygiene and preventive measures.

Egypt witnessed a record 623 daily recoveries from COVID-19 on Sunday, raising the total number of the recovered cases in the country to 20,726, said the health ministry.

Meanwhile, the country reported 1,218 new COVID-19 infections, the lowest since June 19, raising the total cases registered since mid-February to 75,253,

Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.

Egypt also saw 63 fatalities from coronavirus on Sunday, the least since June 14, increasing the death toll to 3,343, according to the statement.

Megahed emphasized Egypt’s close cooperation with the World Health Organization regarding the pandemic.

Egypt announced its first confirmed COVID-19 case on Feb. 14 and the first death from the highly infectious virus on March 8.

Daily infections in the country have been surpassing 1,000 cases since May 28, with a record of 1,774 on June 19.

Egypt resumed international flights on July 1 after more than three months of suspension, amid a coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.

The North African country has recently lifted a partial nighttime curfew it imposed over the past three months, reopening restaurants, cafes, theatres and cinemas, as well as hotels, museums and archaeological sites for tourists, all with limited capacity.

Egypt and China have been cooperating closely in fighting the pandemic through exchanging medical aid and expertise.

In early February, Egypt provided aid to China to help with its fight against COVID-19 and China later returned the favor by sending three batches of medical aid to the North African country, the latest of which was in mid-May.

Since mid-April, Chinese doctors and medical experts have held three video conferences with Egyptian counterparts to share their experience in the prevention and treatment of the novel coronavirus.

Egypt is likely to face a drop in the birth rate in the period following the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Dr Tarek Tawfik, Deputy Minister of Health for Population Affairs.

The anticipated drop in births is set to come off the back of a more general change in family behaviours, whether it is marriage, divorce or childbearing.

Tawfik noted that the pandemic may cause a sharp birth rate drop in the nine months following the spread of the pandemic.

In a statement on Sunday, Tawfik explained that the main reasons behind the expected drop in birth rates may be due to fears of losing jobs, and health concerns related to the virus. The closure of healthcare facilities or the restricting of services provided when the burden on health systems increases are also thought to be factors.

The Ministry of Health, on Sunday, reported 1,218 new coronavirus cases, raising the country’s total number of infections to 75,253. The number of fatalities has also increased by 63 to reach 3,343 in total. A total of 20,726 cases have recovered and been discharged from hospitals after receiving the required medical treatment. 

“Many parents believe that a pandemic is inappropriate for having children. Women, in particular, hesitate about a pregnancy due to fear of the future, psychological pressure, fear of infection, and the economic crisis such as losing work and working from home for less pay,” Tawfik added. 

The deputy minister anticipates that a baby boom will, however, follow the crisis, and is expected to revive Egypt’s birth rates.He pointed to the surge in births in Sweden and Norway in the first five years following the 1918 influenza pandemic.

To avoid this expected baby boom, family planning efforts should be put in place,  in addition to increased awareness on the topic, Tawfik said.

He noted that he expects three scenarios for the baby boom, according to Egypt’s population expectations. 

The first expected scenario is uncontrolled overpopulation that will see a total reproductive rate of 3.5 children per woman. Under this scenario, Egypt’s population will reach 183 million in 2050. 

In the second scenario, it is expected that the total fertility rate will remain stable at the current 3.07 children per woman that will see Egypt’spopulation rise to about 160 million in 2050.

According to Tawfik, the third scenario relies on the success of the national population strategy, which aims for a total population of 152 million in 2050. In this instance, a reproductive rate of 3.5 children per woman would need to be achieved.

Egypt’s National Research Center (NRC) is in the pre-clinical development phase of four vaccines against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar.

In a ministry statement on Thursday, Abdel Ghaffar said the four vaccines are among 132 the World Health Organization (WHO) reports are currently under development against the virus.

The minister indicated that the NRC’s research team developing the vaccines have completed pre-clinical trials for a second type of vaccine, and are currently working to obtain approval for clinical trials.

He also said that the NRC has zoned in on three natural materials that significantly inhibit the virus’ reproduction and that it is currently preparing the clinical trials on potential drugs.

The ministry statement added that the four vaccines include an inhibitor vaccine consisting of the H1N1 influenza virus and induced pieces of the emerging coronavirus. The second vaccine is an inhibited vaccine for the coronavirus which has been grown on tissue culture.

The third vaccine contains DNA loaded with parts from the coronavirus’ own DNA, representing surface proteins from the virus. The fourth vaccine contains surface proteins from the virus which stimulate an immune system response to produce antibodies in four forms.

Egypt will release an effective drug for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within two weeks, according to Dr Hossam Hosni, head of the Ministry of Health’s scientific committee to combat the coronavirus. 

Hosni noted that Egypt is the only country in the Middle East that is locally producing drugs for treating the virus.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health reported 1,566 new coronavirus cases and 83 new fatalities. The latest figures bring the country’s total to 66,754 confirmed cases, and 2,872 fatalities. A total of 17,951 cases have recovered and discharged from hospitals. 

In a televised phone call to the Al-Arabiya TV station on Sunday, Hosni added that Russian drug Avifavir and US drug Remdesivir will be also available for coronavirus patients. This will, however, occur only after they undergo clinical trials.  

He pointed out that the results of clinical trials on Remdesivir, which will be manufactured in Egypt, will be revealed within two weeks.  

Egypt’s curve of coronavirus infections is still increasing, Hosni said, adding that the committee he heads stands by its expectations that the curve will decline in mid-July.

He also said that the number of infections following the country’s reopening to co-exist with the virus will be analysed two weeks after the lifting of lockdown measures. The two week period is commensurate with the virus’ known incubation period. 

“We still have indicators that show the severity of the virus has decreased, but the rate of spread has increased,” Hosni said, ”The number of critical infections that require ventilators ranges between 2% and 3% of daily cases, while the moderate cases that need care are 10% of daily infections.”

The closure comes following the ministry’s opening of quarantine departments at some fever hospitals across the country to treat COVID-19 cases.

The Negelah hospital in Matrouh was the first medical facility designated to isolate and treat coronavirus infections in Egypt. The hospital will be sterilised and reopened for normal use.  

On Sunday, the Ministry of Health reported 1,265 new confirmed coronavirus cases bringing the country’s total to 65,188 cases. A total of 81 new fatalities were also reported, bringing the total death toll to 2,789. A total of 17,539 cases have recovered and were discharged from hospitals. 

Meanwhile, Eva Pharma, the Egypt agent for US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has been authorised to manufacture and distribute the Remdesivir drug in Egypt. The drug will be used to treat patients suffering from the coronavirus, according to Dr Ali Auf, Head of the General Division of Drug Traders at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC).

Egypt started using Remdesivir as part of the treatment protocol for critical coronavirus patients in isolation hospitals.

In statements to Al-Mehwar channel on Saturday evening, Auf added that Gilead will supply the US and Europe with its production of the drug. At the same time, it has granted the drug’s manufacturing rights to Egypt, Pakistan, and India.

He explained that Remdesivir was initially used to treat patients with the Ebola virus. Following the emergence of the coronavirus, the drug underwent clinical trials for the virus, which showed promising results for medium and severe cases. Remdesivir has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Auf said that the first 1,100 doses for treating current patients are already available, but its use will be expanded in governmental hospitals as a first stage.

The drug is sold in the US at about $4,500, with Egypt expecting to sell it for about EGP 4,000, he said.

Eva Pharma announced that the drug has been available at hospitals across Egypt since Wednesday, with sufficient amounts of the drug available for treating critical cases. Remdesivir will be available only at hospitals, rather than in pharmacies as well, and will be available for patients so long as they take the medication under strict medical monitoring. 

There have been about 100 fatalities and over 3,000 infections so far among Egyptian doctors of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) said, late on Tuesday.

The EMS said it rejects attempts to lay the blame on doctors for the increased COVID-19 deaths in Egypt.

The syndicate’s statements follow comments by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Tuesday that the government will take appropriate administrative measures against medical workers who absent from work during the crisis. Madbouly said these absences have led to an increase in virus-related deaths among citizens.

Madbouly also, however, thanked those healthcare workers who have remained committed to undertaking their jobs during the ongoing health crisis.

“The real reasons behind the increase of COVID-19 related deaths are the shortages of medical supplies and intensive care units (ICU),” the EMS said, “Egyptians doctors provide a marvelous example of sacrifice as they have been working under great pressure and amid the shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) in some hospitals, and amid the continuing assaults on medical workers.” 

 

The syndicate noted that some doctors have faced arbitrary administrative decisions that prevent them from taking obligatory holidays, an issue the EMS has repeatedly highlighted that needs tackling. It has also called for a law to be drafted criminalising assaults on doctors by patients or their companions.

“Doctors remain steadfast in practicing their mission in hospitals to protect the people and their homeland,” the EMS said. 

Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the cabinet had received complaints that some hospitals have refused to admit coronavirus cases. He added that some deficienciehave been observed and tackled.

Madbouly said that the government has significantly expanded the availability of treatment for the coronavirus across Egypt. This has occurred through the allocation of over 360 hospitals affiliated to the Ministry of Health, dozens of university hospitals, and the construction of field hospitals. The minister added that police and army hospitals have also been prepared as back-up medical facilities for the virus, and will help in the crisis if needed in the future.  

The drug, which is the generic form of Japanese antiviral drug Avigan, contains the active pharmaceutical ingredient Favipiravir and will be used in the treatment of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Avigan was developed by the Toyama Chemical Company, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Fujifilm Holdings, and contains the active ingredient Favipiravir.

The Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) has also granted approval for Rameda to begin manufacturing of intravenous Remedisivir vials, which is also used in the treatment of coronavirus patients.

Avigan has been administered to patients with the coronavirus in clinical trials, as Favipiravir is believed to combat the virus by inhibiting viral reproduction. The trials indicate that the drug assists in stabilising viral reproduction four to six days from first use.

The Ministry of Health and Higher Education and Scientific Research has undertaken clinical trials to determine the efficacy of a range of possible treatments, including Favipiravir, on coronavirus patients.

Favipiravir has been used as an experimental treatment for the virus and in clinical trials in China, Italy, Japan, and Russia. Russia’s Ministry of Health has approved a generic version of the drug for use in hospitals, making Russia the first country to permit such use of Favipiravir.

“Rameda is honoured to devote its capabilities and resources to serving the Egyptian people in this unique moment,” said Rameda CEO Dr Amr Morsy, “Rameda’s entire production of Favipiravir is being produced under the trade name Anviziram, with capacity focused on the Egyptian market.”

Morsy added that the company aims to export Anviziram to neighbouring countries upon approval from the Ministry of Health and the EDA.

In addition to Anviziram, the EDA has granted approval for Rameda to start manufacturing intravenous versions of Remedisvir, a broad-spectrum antiviral medication which has been used in coronavirus patient treatment. Rameda aims to commence production of Remdesivir in the coming period.

He noted that the average daily rate of infections is not an effective indicator in evaluating the virus spread situation in the country.

In a phone call to the private TV station, DMC, on Friday evening, Mogahed added that the weekly average of infections remains at safe rates. He also said that that 95% of coronavirus fatalities are patients with chronic diseases.

On Saturday, Egypt reported 1,547 new coronavirus cases, and 89 new deaths. The country’s total number of confirmed cases reached 53,758 cases, with 89 fatalities. A total of 14,327 cases have recovered and been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.

Mogahed stated that the Ministry of Health approved treatment protocol for coronavirus cases has proven to be highly effective and efficient. He added that the ministry has not suspended use of malaria drug, Hydroxychloroquine, as part of the treatment protocol.

The ministry’s committee of experts for combating the coronavirus is working on following up on all updates related to the virus and its treatments. The committee is aware that Hydroxychloroquine can cause some side effects for some patients with heart and liver diseases, according to Dr Mohamed Abdel Rahman, Head of the Central Administration for Preventive Affairs. 

Moreover, Mogahed stated that ambulances have been provided in front of the centres allocated for Thannaweya Amma exams. The Ministers of Education and Health will undertake inspections of the centres to ensure the appropriate safety and precautionary measures are taken. 

Mogahed also pointed out that meetings with the Chamber of Healthcare Providers in the private sector have been held. The meetings were held to agree on the regulations and pricing of services provided by private hospitals, with the majority of these hospitals agreeing to the ministry’s decisions.

Last week, EMS had asked for efforts to be made in reducing crowding at quarantine hospital reception areas

The number of fatalities among Egypt’s doctors related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) now stands at 87. The rise comes after the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) announced the deaths of six more doctors from the virus in the last two days.

The six doctors have been identified as Dr Amr Abdel Rafe; Dr Hesham Said; Dr Mostafa Zaitoun; Dr Gamal Sabry; Dr Mohamed Abu Stet; and Dr Emad Habib.

Last week, the EMS called for efforts to be made in reducing crowding at quarantine hospital reception areas, and at fever and chest hospitals.

The move would come in addition to providing healthcare workers with much needed personal protective equipment (PPE), whilst excusing elderly and pregnant medical workers from direct contact with coronavirus patients.

The syndicate also asked for those healthcare professionals with chronic illnesses to be excused from contact with these patients.

Earlier in May, the Ministry of Health announced the allocation of 20 beds at each quarantine hospital across the country to healthcare workers. It added that it will expand access to PCR testing and other tests for medical workers.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) death toll of doctors in Egypt now stands at 74 after 14 physicians died of the virus in less than a week.

Dr Ibrahim El-Zayat, the council member at the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS), told Daily NewsEgypt on Wednesday that the new deaths include Dr Mohamed Hashad, a 35-year-old paediatrician and head of the premature infant department at Nasser General Hospital.

Hashad had contracted the virus while on duty, and died at the Zayed Al-Nahyan Hospital inDuwaiqa, according to a statement released by the Nasser General Hospital on Tuesday.

The EMS and Hashad’s colleagues mourned his death by sharing photos showing him carrying out various tasks at the hospital. They described him as a hero and praised his efforts in donating and raising money for the hospital where he worked.

Also among the fatalities were: Dr Abdul Hamid Abu Yousef, a specialist in infectious diseases; Dr Abdullatif Dabour, urologist, Dr Ahmed Fathi Awad, a consultant ophthalmology in Luxor; Dr Hamza Ibrahim; and Dr Ali Howaidi, former Director of the Sherbeen fever hospital.

“We are still counting the total number of COVID-19 infections but for now, we have 454 confirmed infections,” El-Zayat said on Wednesday.

Earlier on Monday, the EMS addressed General Prosecutor Hamada Al-Sawy to demand the release of five doctors arrested after they vocally criticised the Ministry of Health’s handling of Egypt’s coronavirus outbreak.

A number of doctors have been arrested since the beginning of Egypt’s outbreak following their vocal criticism of the state’s performance in countering the virus. Most of them have taken issue with the shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) and PCR tests available for doctors, a demand that the EMS, itself, has been repeatedly calling for.

Last week, the EMS called for a reduction in crowding at quarantine hospital reception areas, and fever and chest hospitals. This would be in addition to providing healthcare workers with needed PPE, whilst excusing elderly and pregnant medical workers from direct contact with coronavirus patients.

The syndicate also asked for those healthcare professionals with chronic illnesses to be excused from contact with these patients.

Earlier in May, the Ministry of Health announced the allocation of 20 beds at each quarantine hospital across the country to healthcare workers. It also said that it will expand PCR tests and other tests for medical workers.

The Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) has demanded the release of doctors arrested due to their critical views over the Ministry of Health’s handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Egypt.

In a statement to General Prosecutor Hamada Al-Sawy, the EMS requested that the arrested doctors be released until the end of investigations. They also requested that a legal representative from the EMS be present during interrogations.

A number of doctors have been arrested since the start of the coronavirus crisis, after vocally criticising the state’s performance in countering the virus. Most of them criticised the shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) and PCR tests for doctors, a demand that EMC itself has been repeatedly calling for.

The EMS has, on several occasions, requested official statements from the Ministry of Health regarding deaths and infections among doctors, but it has received no answer.

The latest figures of fatalities so far among Egypt’s doctors due to the virus has reached 71, with 454 confirmed infections, the EMS said last week.

The syndicate has also called for reduced crowding in reception areas at quarantine facilities, and fever and chest hospitals. This would be in addition to providing healthcare workers with needed PPE, whilst excusing elderly and pregnant medical workers from direct contact with coronavirus patients. The syndicate has also asked for those healthcare professionals with chronic illnesses to be excused.

Earlier in May, the Ministry of Health announced the allocation of 20 beds to healthcare sector workers at each quarantine hospital across the country. The move followed EMS calls for medical workers to be allocated these facilities in light of their frontline role in battling the coronavirus. The ministry also announced it will expand PCR tests and other tests for medical workers

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has stressed the need for daily coordination between the Ministries of Health and Higher Education and Scientific Research regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Egypt.

The coordination will also include the head of the Egyptian Consolidated Purchase and Medical Supply Committee, and the head of the Egyptian Medicines Authority.

Madbouly’s directive for regular cooperation between the two ministries was given during a meeting on Tuesday regarding the latest coronavirus updates. The meeting was held in the presence of Minister of Health Hala Zayed and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghafar.

Madbouly also ordered the two ministers to fully coordinate to facilitate the provision of intensive care rooms and ventilators for the critical cases. He further affirmed the importance of activating the hotlines that provide service to citizens.

He also emphasised the necessity for providing all required medical supplies and medicines to the country’s hospitals.

On Tuesday, Egypt reported 1,567 new coronavirus cases and 94 new fatalities. The total number of confirmed cases has now reached 47,856, with 1,766 fatalities. A total of 12,730 cases have recovered and been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.

The Tuesday ministerial meeting emphasised the importance of expanding follow-up services for chronic and non-communicable diseases in Ministry of Health hospitals and university hospitals, according to cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad. 

Saad added that Prime Minister Madbouly stressed the need for vehicles that will follow up on medical conditions and dispense drugs for patients. These vehicles will also provide check-ups for medical staff.

Saad also said that the meeting highlighted the importance of linking the Ministry of Health hospitals and university hospitals with the ministry’s Central Chamber database. This would ensure the rapid transfer of patients between the two systems. 

Moreover, Madbouly affirmed the need to create a link the database of vacant beds at higher education hospitals to the Ministry of Health’s database. Once the information is made available to the Ministry of Health and ambulance services, this would facilitate and speed up the transportation of patients and critical cases to healthcare facilities. 

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly inspected on Monday a new quarantine field hospital and drive-through testing site affiliated to the Ain Shams University aimed at coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

The sites are scheduled to begin work on Thursday as part of efforts to expand the medical services and testing for coronavirus patients.  

The tour of inspection was conducted in the presence of Minister of Health Hala Zayed, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar as well as other officials. 

During the tour, Abdel Ghaffar said the hospital is located over 4,600sqm and has a total of 200 beds which include intensive care and quarantine unit beds. There are also beds which have been set aside for healthcare workers. 

The hospital, which took 15 days to build, was established at a cost of EGP 28m, according to local media reports.


For the first time in Egypt, the field hospital contains units offering drive-through testing for coronavirus cases, as well as treatment according to protocols approved by the Ministry of Health. It will also receive suspected cases of the virus.

With drive-through testing now available, people will be able to undergo testing for the virus at public testing sites. The sites will be established in several other universities, including Cairo University, Future University and 6th of October University. The sites aim for the early detection of cases to reduce the coronavirus-related death rate, as on Sunday, Egypt saw its highest 24-hour record of fatalities at 91.

Meanwhile, Ain Shams University President Mahmoud El-Matiny said the field hospital was implemented based on the latest international medical standards. It is equipped with the required medical supplies and equipment.

The Tahya Misr Fund has contributed to the hospital’s establishment. It has provided 15 ventilators, 1,000 units of protective gear for medical workers, 10,000 face masks, 500 KN masks, and around 500 N95 face masks as well as sterilisation products. .

In the meantime, Madbouly instructed for an increase in the number of university hospitals offering treatment for the virus in Cairo, Giza and Qaliubiya governorates. These three governorates have reported some of the highest infection rates in the country.

An Oxford University research team has announced that a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine could be available by the autumn.

The vaccine is currently being developed by the university’s Jenner Institute and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

In May, the university announced the start of phase II/III UK trial of a vaccine candidate, with about 10,000 adult volunteers taking part in the trial.

Last week, the British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the start of the vaccine’s Phase III trials, after studies showed it had sufficient effectiveness and safety.

The vaccine candidate uses a weakened version of a common cold-causing virus to deliver the gene for a coronavirus into human cells. AstraZeneca will deliver 400,000 doses of the vaccine to European nations by the end of 2020. 

As of Sunday, the coronavirus has affected over seven million people globally, resulting in 430,399 deaths. 

Dr Ahmed Salman, Professor of Immunology and one of the Oxford University research team, said the team started work on manufacturing the vaccine after the virus’ genetic composition was deciphered.

In a video call with MBC Masr on Saturday evening, he noted that the vaccine is safe to use. He explained that injecting humans with the anti-coronavirus vaccine helps the immune system form memory and combat the virus in the event of infection. 

Salman added that 90% of the body’s cells, especially those in the respiratory system and intestines, have a base of 11 genes on which to receive the virus.

He pointed out that the virus is difficult to deal with once it penetrates cells, with antibodies only able to deal with the virus before it reaches the cells.

Salman concluded that the vaccine provides 100% immunity against the coronavirs, and helped prevent pneumonitis among monkeys during clinical trials. 

The Ministry of Health expects the daily number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases to exceed 2,000 in the coming period, according to Dr Hossam Hosni, Chairperson of the Scientific Committee to Combat the coronavirus.

Hosni added that the state has taken all the necessary precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of citizens.

During a phone call to the Extra News on Sunday, Hosni said the ministry has been warning citizens since late May that the number of daily infections is expected to range between 2,000 and 2,500 cases. 

On Sunday, Egypt reported 1,618 new coronavirus cases, and 91 new fatalities, marking the country’s highest daily death toll of the virus. The total number of confirmed cases in Egypt has reached 44,598 cases, with 1,575 fatalities. A total of 11,931 cases have recovered and been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.

Hosni clarified that the most important aspect of the fight against the coronavirus is to prevent community spread. This could be achieved through raising awareness among citizens, and some measures such as wearing face masks.

He also pointed out that the committee has noticed a positive level of awareness on the virus among citizens, proving the success of the state’s precautionary measures.

It is, however, too difficult to predict when the pandemic peak will occur in Egypt, according to Hosni. He noted that we will only know when the peak is actually reached in real time when the infection rate’s curve reaches a stable number of infections followed by a decline.

“We expect that June will be the peak month for Egypt, and that the first two weeks of July are the two weeks of steadiness followed by the curve starting to go down in mid-July,” Hosni clarified. 

Moreover, he pointed out that people with blood group O are less likely to get infected with the coronavirus.

Hosni added that Egypt is progressing in its pharmaceutical research for coronavirus vaccines, noting that there will soon be a specific and effective treatment for the pandemic.

The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) fatalities among Egypt’s doctors has reached 60, with 454 confirmed infections so far. 

Talking to Daily News Egypt on Saturday, Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) council member Dr Ibrahim El-Zayat said a 6th-year medical student is among those who have died of the virus. The student, identified as Mohamed Ashraf Al-Jamal, had been attending the Misr University for Science and Technology (MUST). 

Al-Jamal had volunteered to work at the Khanka Mental Health Hospital in Qaliubiya governorate. He contracted the virus and had self-isolated until his condition worsened, El-Zayat said, and then he was transferred to a quarantine hospital.

Dr Yousry Kamel, Deputy Director at the National Heart Institute, is another healthcare professional who contracted the virus nearly three weeks ago. He later died from coronavirus-related complications.

Dr Salem Khalil, Professor of Pathology at Zagazig University, Dr Raafat El-Kady, General Surgery Consultant in Aswan, Dr George Attia Habib, a Pediatric Consultant in Cairo, Dr Sayed Nady in Minya, and Dr Ezzat Fahmy Salib, and Anesthesia Specialist in Banha, have also died.


The EMS has, on several occasions, requested official statements from the Ministry of Health regarding deaths and infections among doctors, but received no answer, El-Zayat said.

He added that the EMS and its sub-unions in governorates across Egypt have set up teams to document infections and deaths.

“The total number that we release is real, but it could be incomplete as there could be colleagues we have not reached,” El-Zayat said.

Last week, the EMS asked Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Minister of Health Hala Zayed to “take maximum preventive measures and the highest infection control standards at hospitals after the increase in deaths and infections among doctors.” 

The EMS has also called for a reduction in crowding in reception areas at quarantine, and fever and chest hospitals. This would be in addition to providing healthcare workers with personal protection equipment (PPE), whilst excusing elderly and pregnant medical workers from direct contact with coronavirus patients. The syndicate also asked for those healthcare professionals with chronic illnesses to also be excused.

The EMS called for reconsideration in the conditions of residences assigned to medical workers, and to ensure safe distances between beds. This move would avoid housing units turning to a source of infection among health care workers.  

Earlier in May, the Ministry of Health announced the allocation of 20 beds at each quarantine hospital across the country to healthcare sector workers. The move followed the EMS calls for medical workers to be allocated quarantine facilities in light of their frontline role in battling the coronavirus.

The ministry also announced it will expand PCR tests and other tests for medical workers.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has helped localise Egypt’s drug industry, and the country is now able to produce about 95% of its drug requirements, according to Minister of Health Hala Zayed.

Zayed said Egypt’s Scientific Committee to Combat the Coronavirus has set specific regulations for donating blood plasma from patients who have recovered from the virus to treat active cases.

 The minister added that blood plasma from each donor can help treat as many as 10 critical cases. She also said during an interview with a private TV station. Extra News, on Monday, that this sort of treatment relies on the presence of antibodies that help critical cases to heal and recover.

“Plasma is not used as a treatment for simple and medium cases, and also for not all critical cases, but some critical and pre-critical cases before placing them on a ventilator,” she said. 

On Tuesday, Egypt reported 1,385 new coronavirus cases, and 35 new fatalities. The new figures raise the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 36,829 cases, and the total number of fatalities to 1,306 deaths. A total of 9,786 cases have recovered and have been discharged from hospital quarantine facilities.

Zayed noted that there were critical cases in intensive care units whose health condition deteriorated requiring their transfer to ventilators. They have, however, recovered after being injected with plasma from patients recovering from the virus.

She pointed out that Egypt has participated in a global study of 100 countries, according to the requirements of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the results are identical and successful.

In Egypt, the experiment was conducted by a research team at the National Blood Transfusion Services. It came off the back of an announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that using plasma for patients recovering from the virus could be used in the treatment of active critical coronavirus cases. 

 Plasma reportedly contains coronavirus antibodies, with recent research evidence in several countries worldwide pointing to the plasma helping improve the conditions of active patients. 

Donors should be between 18 and 60 years of age, and weigh at least 50kg, according to the  Ministry of Health’s regulations. Donors are also required to provide proof of a positive PCR test for the virus, and proof of two negative tests. The plasma donation should a 14 days after the last negative test, with no symptoms of the virus present.

Egypt reported 1399 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, and 46 new deaths on Monday, raising the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 26,384 cases, and the total number of fatalities to 1005 deaths. A total of 6297 cases recovered and have been discharged from quarantine facilities at hospitals.

The first effective vaccine to treat the coronavirus (COVID-19) will be available in Egypt in September, according to Dr Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din, Adviser to the President on Health and Prevention.

Talking via telephone to the Al-Hadath television channel on Sunday evening, Tag El-Din said that a foreign company with a branch in Egypt will produce locally a quantity of the vaccine in September. The company is projecting that it will produce about 2bn doses by 2021.

Tag El-Din added that the Egyptian authorities are monitoring local and global developments in the pandemic. He said that “every step or move that takes place in the country is taken according to a balance between the health of the country and health of the economy”.

He explained that a clinical trial on Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug that is part of Egypt’s coronavirus treatment protocol, was conducted on 15,000 patients. He noted that the drug has shown positive outcomes for the patients.

The state has provided mobile medical units across Egypt, particularly in the country’s remoter areas which have little to no access to medical services, to treat those infected with the virus. Tag El-Din added that the mobile medical units were put into effect, due to the high number of infections nationwide.

Tag El-Din added that private hospitals cannot financially pressure citizens, and that it is unethical to take advantage of the patients’ need for treatment. He pointed out that private hospitals only provide a small share of the health services for coronavirus patients, compared to university and Ministry of Health-affiliated hospitals. He also said that some university hospitals provide health services to some institutions at reasonable prices that may be less than the real cost of service.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) has provided Egypt’s Ministry of Health with 15,000 free N95 face masks for medical teams, to support the country’s efforts against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, UNHCR Representative to Egypt Karim Atassi expressed the council’s appreciation of the Egyptian government’s efforts to provide the same treatment to refugees and asylum seekers as it does to its citizens during the pandemic.

Atassi asserted that there are currently about 16 million refugees and asylum seekers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

He added that these refugees live on the margins of society, and are particularly vulnerable as they often have limited access to water, sanitation, and cannot afford to lose their jobs.

Atassi said that after updating the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, the UNHCR issued a $745m appeal in May to meet the immediate needs of the neediest countries.

He added that the commission needs $343m for its response plan to fight the coronavirus in fragile countries across the (MENA) region, which reflects the size of the crisis.

Atassi pointed out that the UNHCR had requested a $10.2m budget for Egypt to provide additional life-saving services, and help Egypt fight against the virus.

He explained that only 6.7% of the budget has been covered, which indicates a severe funding gap and a looming humanitarian crisis.

Ministry of Health reported on Sunday 1,467 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and 39 new fatalities. The latest figures raised the country’s total confirmed cases to 34,079 and 1,237 deaths. Up to 8,961 cases have recovered so far.

The health affairs committee of the parliament held a meeting on Sunday to discuss the latest developments regarding the pandemic in the presence of representatives of the ministries of health and higher education.

Mohamed Hassan, Assistant to the Minister of Health, said during the meeting that the infection curve of the virus in Egypt did not reach the peak yet, with 17 weeks passed since the first infection was detected. He added that the recovery rate reached about 25%, and deaths decreased from 7% to 3%.

Hassan explained that 50% of the cases have been subject to self-isolation at their residences. He added that individuals who do not show symptoms after 10 days in isolation are considered recovered without the need for PCR test. He noted that this is the new strategy aims to reduce pressure on hospitals and save PCR tests for other patients in serious conditions.

Also, Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of University Hospitals, pointed out that the countries currently witnessing lower COVID-19 infections have managed to do so through adopting strict precautionary measures such as wearing face masks and social distancing, rather than curfew or lockdown.

He explained that in Japan is considered one of the lowest countries in terms of COVID-19 infections and deaths because mask-wearing is a cultural norm there.

Abdel-Ghaffar added that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended wearing face masks in hospitals only at the beginning of the crisis, but in its latest report, the WHO stressed the importance of wearing masks in public areas as well.

Abdel Ghaffar continued, “If we conducted random screening, we would find many people infected with the coronavirus but not showing symptoms.”

Noteworthy, the total number of coronavirus fatalities among Egyptian doctors rose to 46 on Saturday, after the death of 10 doctors in less than a week.

The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) fatalities among Egyptian doctors rose to 46 on Saturday, after the death of 10 doctors in less than a week.

Talking to Daily News Egypt, Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) council member Dr Ibrahim El-Zayat said doctors who have died from the coronavirus include: Dr Nermeen Jalal, a Consultant of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Dr Mohamed Antar, teacher of Pharmacology at‏ Al-Azhar University Faculty of Medicine Damietta; Hani Refaat, Professor of Nephrology at Ain Shams University; and Consultant Urologist Abdel-Azim Abu Al-Hassan.

Dr Mohsen Al-Haytami, Professor of Internal Medicine at Al-Azhar University, Ibrahim Ali, a Professor of Clinical Pathology also at Al-Azhar University, and Moatasim Zaki, Surgeon at Mataria Teaching Hospital, Dr Syed Rushdi, a teacher of neurology at Al-Azhar University and Hisham Abdel Hamid, a paediatrician, Dr Samir Othman, obstetrics and gynaecology consultant, and Dr Ayman Zaki, obstetrics and gynaecology consultants have also died of the coronavirus.  

Over 400 other doctors have been infected with the virus so far, El-Zayat revealed, saying, “We are still counting the total number of infections, but it has exceeded 400.” 

Wael Sarhan, Head of the Egyptian Ambulance Organization Employees’ Syndicate, announced on Saturday that the number of infections among its employees has risen to 100, with two fatalities.

In a statement, Sarhan said that 36 family members of ambulance employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

He called for all ambulances in Egypt to have the required medical supplies to avoid the spread of infection among ambulance employees.

Last week, the Nurses Syndicate announced that 10 nurses have died of the virus so far, but has not revealed the total number of infections. 

The EMS had previously warned that Egypt’s health system could face a “complete collapse”, and called for protective measures for medical workers. This should be carried out by providing them with personal protective equipment (PPE), setting aside quarantine areas, and providing PCR tests and training.

Following EMS calls for medical workers to be allocated quarantine facilities, the Ministry of Health announced the allocation of 20 beds at each quarantine hospital across the country healthcare sector workers. The ministry also announced it will expand the availability of PCR tests for medical workers. 

Minister of Health Hala Zayed has announced that Tamiflu will be removed from the treatment protocol for the coronavirus (COVID-19), as it was not effective in treating patients.

She added that, according to approval from the Scientific Committee to Combat the Coronavirus, Hydroxychloroquine will continue to be used as part of the treatment protocol.

During an inspection visit to quarantine hospitals in Alexandria, Zayed announced that the Alexandria’s eastern and central regions have the highest COVID-19 infections within the governorate.

As part of her visit to Abu Qir and the Karmouz Hospital, she urged citizens not to take any medication without medical supervision. She asserted that Hydroxychloroquine has no effects on those who do not have the virus, and cannot prevent infection.

Zayed, who also spoke with Alexandria residents, recommended that they adhere to preventive measures to protect themselves from infection.

She also asserted the importance of physical exercise in developing immunity, as well as for raising the morale of citizens in overcoming negative psychological effects during the pandemic.

Zayed also confirmed the availability of sufficient stock of medicines and medical supplies at all quarantine hospitals in Alexandria.

The Ministry of Health announced on Friday that clinical trials using blood plasma from recovered coronavirus (COVID-19) patients to treat active virus cases have reported increased recovery rates.

Active COVID-19 patients injected with blood plasma were reportedly also less dependent on ventilators, the ministry said.

The Ministry of Health has called on those who have recovered from the virus to donate their blood plasma to help treat others. It has allocated five centres across the country to receive donors, including the National Blood Transfusion Centre, and various centres in Alexandria, Tanta, Minya, and Luxor. 

The donors should be between 18 and 60 years of age and weigh over 50kg. They are also required to have proof of a positive PCR test for the virus, alongside proof for two negative tests. The ministry also stated that the plasma donation should be conducted 14 days after the last negative test, with no symptoms of the virus present.   

The clinical trials were conducted by a National Blood Transfusion Services research team. They follow the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcement that plasma from recovering patients could potentially be used as a treatment for critical coronavirus cases.

Research in numerous studies across the world has shown that plasma reportedly contains antibodies to the coronavirus, which may alleviate symptoms inactive patients.

Treatment protocols for suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) cases starts as soon as blood and chest scans are conducted, without waiting for PCR test results, said Ministry of Health spokesperson Khaled Mogahed.

In televised statements for MBC Masr on Tuesday evening, Mogahed added that PCR analysis is no longer a condition for starting the treatment protocol. The move is to ensure the health and safety of citizens whilst also not delaying their treatment.

He noted that the cases publicly announced daily are based on PCR tests which confirm the diagnosis.

Mogahed noted that some cases should immediately head to the hospital for treatment rather than isolate themselves at home. These include the elderly, pregnant women, and those with chronic diseases, as they require isolation under medical supervision in the hospital. 

Egypt does not face a shortage of hospital beds for coronavirus patients, Mogahed stressed.

He added, “We have 340 hospitals providing treatment and places for isolation, and the Ministry [of Health] has increased the number of hospitals designated for isolation.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar Enaba denied reports that have recently circulated suggesting that quarantine procedures have been cancelled in favour of home isolation for repatriated Egyptians.

Enaba’s statement came after EgyptAir Holding Company Chairperson and CEO Roushdy Zakaria said that Egyptian airports may replace the quarantine with home isolation for citizens repatriated from abroad. 

Enaba further stressed that such decisions are taken by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, rather than the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi held telephone discussions on Wednesday with his Czech counterpart, Miloš Zeman, on joint efforts to curb the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, according to a presidency spokesperson statement.

During the discussions, Al-Sisi and Zeman also discussed containment methods for the virus, as well as the health, social and economic ramifications.  

Both leaders agreed on enhancing bilateral cooperation in several fields, as Zeman hailed historic and close relations between the two countries on security, economic and cultural levels, the statement added. 

Al-Sisi stressed his desire to enhance bilateral coordination with the Czech Republic, whilst also bolstering friendship and cooperation with the Visegrad Group, the statement noted.  

The Czech Republic has reported a total number of 9,374 coronavirus cases, with 323 fatalities, while Egypt’s total number of confirmed cases increased to 27,536 cases and 1,052 deaths. 

Egypt is keen to promote joint global efforts to fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It has dispatched flights with medical supplies to several countries as they battle the pandemic, including China, South Sudan, the US and Italy. 

The Ministry of Health has placed a cap on the treatment costs for the coronavirus (COVID-19) at private hospitals at EGP 1,500-10,000, local media reports say.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health announced that the daily cost of treatment in quarantine units at private hospitals for patients requiring only isolation facilities will range from EGP 1,500 to EGP 3,000.

Patients in intensive care units (ICUs) with more severe symptoms of the virus will pay between EGP 5,000 and EGP 7,000 per day. Patients on ventilators will pay a maximum of EGP 10,000 per day for treatment.

Earlier Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly directed the Ministry of Health to set a ceiling on treatment charges for the virus at private hospitals which have received patients. The move was brought into effect to correct the exaggerated prices at some private hospitals which have been reported in recent weeks.

The prices cover hospital services, medical supplies, doctors’ fees, accommodation, and testing.

On Monday, Minister of Health Hala Zayed directed an increase in the number of ICUs and ventilators at all Cairo’s public quarantine hospitals, to provide critical cases with the required services.

In an inspection visit to Cairo’s quarantine hospitals, Zayed checked on medical teams and their undertaking of precautionary measures, in addition to checking the availability of medical and protective supplies.

Zayed also reviewed the application of updated protocols for coronavirus treatment, as well as the testing conducted for the virus at hospitals.

She asserted that there is an availability of an adequate stock of medicines and preventive supplies. There are currently 8m coronavirus treatment doses available for healthcare workers and others directly in contact with virus patients.

A further 500,000 doses of medicines are ready for critical cases in hospital, in addition to 2m doses for infected cases quarantined at home.

The Ministry of Interior is continuing its disinfection and sterilisation efforts at prisons across Egypt as part of continued precautionary measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a statement on Monday, the ministry said the measures have been put in place to ensure a safe environment is provided for inmates.

It added that the disinfection and sterilisation include all prison facilities, including wards, visiting areas, kitchens, libraries, hospitals and clinics.

The ministry also said that it has undertaken tests on inmates to detect any coronavirus infections, adding that it is providing them with face masks and disinfectant products.

Furthermore, it said it has provided prisons with electronic sterilisation gates and equipment to measure body temperature. 

Also on Monday, the Ministry of Interior announced that testing had been conducted on all those who had been in direct contact with a deceased civil servant employed at Tora Prison. Although the late employee had tested positive for the virus, the ministry confirmed that all those who were in direct contact with the employee before his death have themselves tested negative.

The ministry said it had conducted medical tests for those in contact with the employee
prior to his death and sterilised the employee’s offices. The move came despite his being on official leave since 17 May and was undertaken to ensure their safety.

On Saturday, the ministry dismissed social media reports that said a civil servant at Tora Prison had died from the virus. The ministry emphasised that the employee had been off work for 14 days to undertake treatment for an unrelated chronic illness.

It added that the employee had undertaken a PCR test at the Imbaba Fever Hospital during his official leave. He died before receiving his results, which showed that he had tested positive for the virus. The ministry said that the cause of death has yet to be determined.

The Ministry of Interior asserted that it is taking all the necessary precautionary measures to avoid infections at all prison sector installations and that it conducts regular tests to ensure inmates and worker safety.

MP Youssef Al-Shazly, Deputy Secretary of the telecommunication committee in Parliament, has confirmed his positive diagnosis with the Covid-19, to be the sixth case in the House of Representatives.

In a press statement on Sunday evening, Al-Shazly said that he underwent the necessary tests, and has already started receiving treatment for the virus.

House of Representatives Secretary-General Mahmoud Fawzi announced on Sunday that Wafd Party-affiliated MP Eid Heikal, representing the East Cairo district of Al-Marg, also tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The announcement followed the confirmed infections of MP Hisham Magdy from the Upper Egypt governorate of Beni Suef, MP Nashwa El-Deeb from Giza’s district of Imbaba, and MP Amr Watani representing the East Cairo district of El-Shorabeya.

Sherine Farrag, a member of the parliamentary planning committee, was the first MP to confirm her infection with the virus.

The infected MPs are currently quarantined at private hospitals.

Despite the infections, Fawzi said the parliament will continue working albeit more cautiously, and more emphasis on precautionary measures. He also emphasised that strict measures will be taken on MPs who violate these precautionary measures.

Fawzi said parliament will not postpone its plenary meetings despite the recent infections among MPs.

Head of the parliamentary committee of social solidarity, Abdel-Hadi El-Kasaby, said the committee’s meetings are set to continue. The budgets for the National Councils and the Ministry of Social Solidarity will be discussed during the meetings.

Deputy of the legislative committee at Parliament, Ihab Al-Tamawi, said in press statements on Sunday that convening at the time of crisis is not new to the parliament. Egypt’s current parliament began during a very difficult political situation and has since faced many issues.

Al-Tamawi added that he agreed with the state’s plan to coexist with the coronavirus while carrying on with all preventive measures. He praised decisions by Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal to discuss approving all legislations and mechanisms that the state and its people need during this difficult stage.

The next two weeks will see high rates of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in Egypt based on projections from the most recent infection rate figures, according to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly,

During a video conference meeting with governors, Madbouly said the infections increase will require constant monitoring and the strict enforcement of the night-time curfew and social distancing measures.

He instructed for the governors to launch daily inspection visits to quarantine hospitals to monitor the availability of medical supplies, whilst also ensuring that citizens are provided with good service. 

On Monday, Egypt reported 1,399 new coronavirus cases and 46 new deaths, raising the country’s total to 26,384 cases and 1,005 deaths. Up to 6,447 cases have recovered and discharged from hospitals, according to the Health Ministry.

Madbouly also ordered for a 24-hour hotline to be allocated in each governorate to follow up on citizen inquiries regarding treatment for the virus. He said that each governor should be personally responsible for following up on the complaints.

During the meeting, Madbouly notified the governors of their full power to deal firmly with any lack of commitment from medical teams.

Madbouly added that Greater Cairo, Giza, and Qaliubiya governorates have reported the highest rates of infections, recording more than 50% of the infections in May.

He also called for checks to be made on citizen behaviour regarding social distancing and their undertaking of other precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus. He asserted that the government is working to provide reusable cloth masks that will cost an average price of EGP 5.

Meanwhile, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said that the real figure for Egypt’s coronavirus (COVID-19) cases could be as high as 117,000 according to data analysis and modelling of the virus evolution in the country.

He added that the officially reported figures, which currently stand at 24,985 confirmed cases across Egypt, are equal to only about one-fifth of the real numbers according to the data analysis.He anticipated that there could be as many as 30,000 cases in Egypt during the period from 4 to 5 June.

In a live video on his ministry’s Facebook page on Monday, Abdel Ghaffar also projected that this number will increase to be 40,000 cases during the period from 10 to 13 June.

He added that the number of cases decreased on 15 May, with a renewed wave emerging in the following period. He noted that the 20,000 case-load had been expected since April.

Abdel Ghaffar mentioned that Egypt has conducted 50 out of the 64 clinical studies related to the virus in Africa. These have dealt with the virus’ genetic sequence as well as drugs that are being studied for the treatment protocol.

The movement of citizens has intensified in the past week, following a significant decrease during the second and third days of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, he said. 

He added that population movement was monitored via satellite tracking of nitrogen dioxide, which is used as an indicator of human activity. The data gleaned from this monitoring has been used to track the emergence rates of new cases.

The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) fatalities among Egyptian doctors rose to 32 on Monday with 382 infected, according to Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) council member Dr Ibrahim El-Zayat. 

Talking to Daily News Egypt on Monday, El-Zayat said that four doctors died from the virus on Sunday, namely Dr Gamal Abu Al-Ela, a consultant of internal medicine and Dr Sabah Saad Farag, a Gynaecology consultant in Giza. Also among the deaths were Dr Mohamed Farid Elgendy, a consultant and professor of cardiology at the National Heart Institute and Head of the Cardiology Department at Al Mabarra Hospital, and Dr Ronz Yassy Maqqar, Obstetrics and Gynecology Consultant in Beni Suef. 

The EMS also mourned on Monday the coronavirus-related death of urologist Dr Ahmed Yassin Ghallab, who died three days ago, but whose death was only reported to the EMS on Monday, El-Zayat said.

El-Zayat noted that the EMS is helping doctors gain access to treatment and quarantine areas, adding that the 20 beds the Ministry of Health has allocated at each hospital will not be enough in major governorates.

El-Zayat said that Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly vowed to allocate quarantine places for medical workers in Egypt, adding that he has issued a directive on this issue.

On Sunday, Minister of Health Hala Zayed said that over 10,000 PCR tests have been conducted on medical workers since the start of the outbreak in Egypt. 

Last week, the EMS warned that Egypt’s health system could face a “complete collapse”, and called for protective measures for medical workers. This should be carried out by providing them with personal protective equipment (PPE), setting aside quarantine areas, and providing PCR tests and training. 

Meanwhile, nine coronavirus-related deaths have occurred among nurses so far, according to the Egyptian Nursing Syndicate.  

Wael Sarhan, Head of the Egyptian Ambulance Organization Employees’ Syndicate, announced on Sunday that two employees have died from the virus, with a further 64 infected so far. 

The Cairo Medical Syndicate announced on Saturday that it has closed its two branches for a week to ensure there are no infections among workers, and to carry out disinfection and sterilisation.

The Egyptian Pharmacists Syndicate also closed its Garden City branch on Sunday for a week after several coronavirus cases were confirmed there. 

Egypt’s Armed Forces have sent a military aircraft carrying medical aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia.

The aid, which included medicine, disinfectants and protective suits, among other medical supplies, will help the two countries in combating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The aircraft was received by Egypt’s Ambassador to the country, Congo’s Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda, and a number of DRC officials.

Congolese officials expressed their gratitude for Egypt’s support of their country’s fight against the coronavirus and praised the strong relations between the two countries.

In Zambia, the aircraft was received by the Egyptian ambassador to Zambia Ahmed Mostafa, Zambia’s Vice-President Inonge Wine, and a number of officials. They expressed their deep gratitude to Egypt’s leadership and people for helping their country combat the pandemic. 

Egypt has sent several military planes carrying medical aid to fellow African nations since the beginning of the outbreak. The aid has been sent as a goodwill gesture to help these nations curb the spread of infection and treat patients according to international standards.

A total of 5,178 were arrested on Monday for violating the nationwide curfew, with a further 248 arrested for not wearing face masks, according to the Ministry of Interior.

Among the arrested citizens, 1,565 were in cars, 143 were on motorcycles, and a further 112 were riding toktoks. In addition, 293 were arrested for keeping their shops open after the beginning of curfew hours.

A total of 324 had their car licences withdrawn for not complying with the directive to wear face masks inside their cars.

The arrests come as part of continued efforts to ensure citizen health and safety through a range of government-sanctioned precautionary measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Egypt.

The Ministry of Interior said that all necessary legal measures have been taken against those violating the curfew. It added that there will be continued monitoring and follow up with security directorates nationwide regarding further violations.

On 30 May, the Ministry of Interior instructed for face masks to be worn in all public areas nationwide. Citizens found not to be wearing face masks will face fines of up to EGP 4,000 or imprisonment.

Also on 30 May, Egypt started a two-week nationwide curfew beginning at 20:00, rather than from 17:00 as enforced over the Eid Al-Fitr holiday. This relaxing of curfew timings comes as part of the country’s gradual reopening, expected from mid-June.

Egypt is taking a two-pronged approach to finding treatment for the coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr Jihan Al-Assal, a member of the scientific committee to combat the coronavirus, said on Monday.

The approach includes several clinical trials currently underway for treatment, in addition to experiments to find a vaccine.

Al-Assal confirmed that Egypt is participating in US medical tests for Remdesivir as a specific treatment for the virus.

Remdesivir which has been approved for use in Japan, and authorised for emergency use in the US, will be available in Egypt within a week.

Al-Assal asserted that Egypt has also participated in US-led research approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

During a phone interview, Al-Assal announced that Egypt has conducted 22 medical trials on different medicines.

She clarified that many drugs are being tested as potential treatments for COVID-19, including the use of plasma. Al-Assal also called on patients who have recovered from the virus to donate their plasma to those patients presenting with severe symptoms.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has stressed that the necessity of constant availability of all medical supplies at hospitals as they continue their fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

He noted that the Egyptian Authority for Unified Procurement, Medical Supply, and Technology Management, in coordination with the Ministry of Health, is responsible for ensuring these supplies are provided.

During a meeting with the government’s coronavirus crisis management committee, Madbouly ordered launching daily inspection visits to hospitals nationwide to check on the availability of medical supplies whilst also ensuring that citizens are provided with a good service.   

He also instructed that private hospitals, which have received coronavirus patients, have to set a ceiling to Covid-19 treatment charges, especially with the exaggerated rise in treatment costs at some private hospitals which has been reported in the recent weeks.

During the meeting, Minister of Health Hala Zayed reviewed a by-governorate report on infection rates across Egypt.

She noted that the six governorates with the highest rate of coronavirus infections, reporting a total number of approximately 15,415 infections, included Cairo, Giza, and Alexandria.

Zayed said that there are now 5,013 intensive care units nationwide responsible for providing treatment and monitoring cases. She added that there are also 340 hospitals allocated to treating coronavirus cases, providing 3,539 intensive care beds, 2,218 ventilators, and 35,152 beds in internal departments.

She also said that 49 laboratories nationwide are prepared to conduct coronavirus tests, with a further eight laboratories to be added the coming week.

Zayed emphasised that her ministry has 500,000 doses of coronavirus treatments as prescribed in Egypt’s treatment protocol for the virus ready for critical cases in hospital. There are a further 8m doses for healthcare workers and others directly in contact with coronavirus patients, in addition to 2m doses for infected cases.

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar announced that a total of 5,651 cases have received treatment at quarantine facilities at hospitals and university dorms. Out of this figure, 49 cases died and 4,093 cases recovered.

Abdel Ghaffar added that about 2,991 beds are currently providing health services for coronavirus cases, with several university dorms undergoing conversions to quarantine facilities. He indicated that a total of 26 university dormitory facilities hold a capacity of 69,070 beds for those patients requiring isolation.

A positive coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis has been made at a hotel in the Red Sea governorate, according to Red Sea Governor Major General Amr Hanafi.

Domestic tourism has only just started making a return in the past few weeks, with hotels gradually starting to reopen, following closures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Egypt.

In televised remarks on Saturday evening, Hanafi pointed out that the new case was detected in a hotel at a resort, and that only six or seven individuals were present at the hotel at the time.

The hotel was among roughly 40 hotels, catering to approximately 2,000 visitors, that reopened following an easing of government restrictions on domestic tourism, Hanafi added.

He said that the new infection was immediately quarantined, and all measures were taken to avoid the further spread of the virus. 

Hanafi added that, if the reopening of hotels under government-led health requirements succeeds, the occupancy rate will be increased from 25% to 50%. 

Earlier in May, Egypt announced that it will allow hotels and tourist resorts to reopen to domestic tourism at a maximum occupancy rate of 25%. This must take place with a full commitment to specific health requirements.

The requirements state that each hotel has to provide an on-site clinic and doctor, whilst allocating a small area or floor as a quarantine bay in case positive coronavirus diagnoses are made.

Other requirements include the installation of hand sterilisation equipment at hotel entrances, and either electronic check-in procedures or the provision of single-use pens for guests.

Luggage will also be sterilised upon arrival and departure from the hotel, with regular temperature checks of guests each time they enter the premises.

In the upcoming cabinet meeting, Egypt will also consider the reopening of airports and return of international flights, according to cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad. 

Saad said during televised remarks on Saturday that the government is expected to discuss the gradual return of international flights. These will likely happen either in the second half of June or the first half of July, with all required precautionary measures undertaken.

The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) fatalities among Egyptian doctors rose to 28 on Sunday, according to Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) council member Ibrahim El-Zayat.

Earlier on Sunday, the EMS announced the death of Dr Gamal Abu Al-Ela, a consultant of internal medicine, who died of the virus. 

Talking to Daily News Egypt, El-Zayat added that the total number of confirmed infections among doctors battling the virus in Egypt has risen to 372.

El-Zayat renewed healthcare worker demands that they are provided with greater protection against the virus. These improvements will see them provided with testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and improved quarantining of infected cases. 

El-Zayat said that Minister of Health Hala Zayed contacted the EMS to meet its head, Dr Hussein Khairy, following his meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly last week. 

Khairy had met with Madbouly to open a direct communication channel on reaching solutions to protect doctors, as well as provide PCR tests and medical supplies. 

El-Zayat noted that the government has pledged to establish an occupational risk fund for medical workers, but added that no details on the financial dues have been released.

El-Zayet showed Daily News Egypt newly published details, signed by the Head of the Central Department of Medical Committees, of coronavirus related deaths and infections among medical workers.

The publication notes that virus-related infections will be dealt with as an “occupational injury” until the infection is added to the list of occupational diseases that may affect medical workers. Medical worker deaths that are attributed to the coronavirus will also be dealt with as death resulting from an occupational injury, with those affected medical workers receiving all insurance rights. 

The EMS had previously called on the cabinet to apply Law No 16 of 2018 to medical professionals who have been infected or have died as a result of infection. The law had originally been established to honour security and military casualties as martyrs.

The Ministry of the Interior dismissed on Saturday social media reports that a civil servant died of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Tora Prison.

The claim said that a member of staff at the prison had died from the virus, raising concerns of further infections inside the prison.

In a statement, the Ministry of Interior said the deceased employee had been on official leave since 17 May, to undertake treatment for an unrelated chronic illness.

During his leave of absence, he took a coronavirus test at the Imbaba General Hospital, but he died before receiving the test results, which later showed his positive diagnosis, the statement said. The staff member’s cause of death has yet to be determined, however.

Although the deceased employee had been off work for 14 days, the Ministry of Interior said it had undertaken all precautionary measures for safety reasons. This included sterilising the employee’s office and examining people who had been in direct contact with him immediately prior to his death.

The ministry added that it had conducted medical examinations on the employee before he went on sick leave to ensure he was not coronavirus-positive.

The Ministry of Interior will take legal action against those who spread inaccurate news, the statement added.

The Ministry of Health will continue using the anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), as part of its coronavirus (COVID-19) treatment protocol, according to Dr Mohamed Abdel Rahman, head of the central administration for preventive affairs. 

The ministry’s move comes despite the World Health Organization (WHO) decision to temporarily halt the drug’s use in coronavirus treatment, due to concerns over its side effects.

Abdel Rahman told Daily News Egypt that the ministry’s committee of experts is following up on all updates related to the coronavirus and its treatments. He noted that the committee already knows of the drug’s potential side effects on some patients with heart and liver diseases.  

He said that whilst HCQ is still part of Egypt’s Covid-19 treatment protocol, however, it is not given to all cases.  

On Monday, the WHO temporarily halted a study using hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as potential coronavirus treatments due to safety concerns, as part of the organisation’s Solidarity Trial in 35 countries.

The decision relied on a study published in The Lancet which suggested that coronavirus patients treated with the two drugs were at risk of arrhythmia, and were more likely to die. 

Abdel Rahman said, “The committee has reviewed the paper and decided to continue using hydroxychloroquine in the protocol, as the study provided inaccurate results. Also, many European countries ignored the paper and are still using the drug.”

He called on citizens presenting with mild coronavirus symptoms to avoid hospitals to reduce infections, as long as their status remains mild and they only need follow ups during home isolation. 

Meanwhile, over 100 researchers have sent an open letter to The Lancet’s editor and the paper’s authors, requesting the journal provide details on the data’s origin. They also called for the study to be independently validated by the WHO or another institution.

Egypt’s Parliament secretary-general Mahmoud Fawzi has revealed that MP Omar Watany has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), to be the second parliamentarian who contracted the virus.

 Fawzi told reporters on Saturday that Watany is receiving treatment at a private hospital and he is in a stable condition. 

 The first infection in the parliament was MP Shereen Farag, who recovered and left the hospital a week ago. About 12 other MPs were in contact with Farag, according to earlier remarks by Parliament Deputy Speaker Soliman Wahdan.

 In the meantime, the Ministry of Health reported on Saturday 1,367 new COVID-19 cases and 34 new deaths, raising the country’s total confirmed cases to 23,449 and 913 deaths. Up to 5,693 cases have recovered.

 Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a TV interview that they cannot determine if Egypt is now witnessing the peak of coronavirus, adding that the reasons behind the high increase of coronavirus infections during the last two days were “crowdedness ahead of Eid El-Fitr, and that people did not wear face masks.” 

 Zayed noted during her inspection tour that included Sahel Teaching Hospital and Mataria Teaching Hospital, that “more than 10,000 PCR tests were conducted to medical workers,” adding that 20 beds at each quarantine hospitals have been allocated for healthcare workers. 

Zayed added in a statement that the ministry expanded in the number of general and central hospital which offer testing and treatment for coronavirus infections to be 376 hospitals. 

Zayed noted that 5,400 of health units and 1,000 medical convoys have been launched across the country to distribute medicine and personal protective supplies.

 On the other hand, the Suez Health Directorate announced on Saturday 11 new coronavirus infections in the governorate, while North Sinai Health Directorate detected a new coronavirus infection in Bir El Abd city. 

On Friday, the Egyptian Nursing Syndicate announced the ninth coronavirus-related death of a nurse. Magda Mohamed Ali, who worked in the Bulaq Dakrur Hospital, contracted the virus while on duty. 

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Lawyers Syndicate has temporarily closed its Cairo headquarters and affiliated River Club in Maadi, after three coronavirus infections were confirmed there. The syndicate said on Friday the closure was meant for disinfection and sterilisation on Saturday and Sunday. 

 Moreover, Abdel-Hadi Abu Stete, head of the Lawyers Syndicate’s Belbes branch in Sharqeya, died on Friday due to coronavirus-related complications. 

Head of the Lawyers Syndicate Rajae Attia noted in earlier televised remarks that several coronavirus infections have been confirmed among the syndicate’s members, but declined to identify them by name.

 Also on Friday, the Menoufiya Health Directorate allocated 90% of its hospitals capacity as quarantine facilities for coronavirus patients. The remaining 10% of beds have been kept aside for other emergency cases. 

 In an official letter submitted to the governorate’s hospitals, the directorate said, “Given the emergency circumstances that the country is going through due to the novel coronavirus, and given the increase in the [number of] cases, (the directorate) allocates all beds at hospitals for quarantining positive and suspected coronavirus cases, while 10% will be allocated for emergency cases.” 

 The move came after three villages were quarantined in the governorate following the detection of new infections there. The villages of Shintina Al Hajar in Birket el Sab, Kafr as Sanabisah, and Mit Om Saleh have been identified as the quarantined villages.

 Starting on 30 May, the government has amended the curfew hours to be from 20:00 to 6:00 for two weeks. Face masks will be obligatory in all public spaces, including markets, shops, banks, public and private installations, and public transport. Violators will be fined EGP 4,000.

The government has put in place coexistence plans to ensure life returns to as normal as possible under precautionary measures starting the second half of June.   

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said on Thursday that the Egyptian people are standing together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic which requires solidarity from everyone to get through this challenge peacefully.

On his official Twitter account, Al-Sisi warned that amid the efforts exerted by the state to counter the pandemic and achieve development, the country’s enemies are trying to discredit these efforts and achievements.

The president asserted his trust in the Egyptian people’s ability to stand against these attempts.

In another context, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly affirmed that the state appreciates the efforts made by the healthcare workers to face the pandemic, stressing the state’s support and endless assistance to all medical personnel to carry out their role in providing medical services to citizens.

It came during his Thursday meeting with Head of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate Hussein Khairy after criticisms to Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 quarantine protocols.

In a separate meeting, Madbouly said that 150 service representatives have been added to the 105 hotline which receives inquiries about coronavirus and reports of suspected cases. He added that 330 hospitals affiliated with the government offers Covid-19 testing and treatment services nationwide.

Madbouly asserted that the government gives due care to protect the medical staffs from infection, saying that 8,900 PCR tests and another 20,000 rapid tests were conducted to healthcare workers.

The Prime Minister stressed also the necessity of having sufficient medical supplies in all hospitals

“We continue to perform the necessary testing for them [healthcare workers], as well as providing medical supplies [to hospitals],” he said

Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed has revealed that the ministry’s blood plasma treatment trials for COVID-19 patients have proved successful for 30 cases. 

The trial transfuses plasma from recovered people into sick people to give their immune systems a boost to fight the virus.

Zayed urged in a Saturday’s statement the Egyptians who recovered from the virus to head to the nearest blood bank affiliated to the Ministry of Health to donate plasma. 

In the meantime, she said the ministry increased the number of general and central hospitals which offer testing and treatment for coronavirus infections to be 376 hospitals.

She noted that 5,400 health units and 1,000 medical convoys have been launched across the country to distribute medicines and personal protective supplies.

In the meantime, Zayed said that they cannot determine if Egypt is now witnessing the peak of coronavirus. She added in a TV interview on Saturday that the reasons behind the high increase of coronavirus infections during the last two days were “crowdedness ahead of Eid El-Fitr, and that people did not wear face masks.” 

 Zayed’s comments came during her inspection tour that included Sahel Teaching Hospital and Mataria Teaching Hospital. 

She added that “more than 10,000 PCR tests were conducted to medical workers, and that 20 beds at each quarantine hospitals have been allocated for healthcare workers. 

She also said that 50% of coronavirus cases have arrived at hospitals in very critical cases. 

The minister affirmed that any person who suffers the coronavirus symptoms whether respiratory symptoms, diarrhoea, or high temperature has to consider themselves a coronavirus infected case, noting that PCR test has not been the only way to detect the infection. 

The management of Cleopatra Hospitals Group anticipates that the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported in Egypt will increase to a peak in June; however, it does not believe it will be necessary for private hospitals to start treating coronavirus cases, as public hospitals are capable of handling the current cases. 

The group forecasts that this peak will occur at about the same time as the beginning of the government’s reopening phase. Following this peak, the number of cases will begin to normalise. 

The government has several layers of hospital capacity that are able to treat Egypt’s current numbers of confirmed coronavirus patients. These include quarantine hospitals, fever and chest hospitals, university hospitals, and army and police hospitals.

These are in addition to other non-ICU facilities which are being used as quarantine facilities.

The Ministry of Health has asked private hospitals not to send suspected coronavirus cases directly to isolation hospitals. They should instead undertake CT scans and laboratory analyses first, which will then be sent onto the ministry for analysis. If cases test positive, they will be directed to isolation hospitals.

During the first quarter of 2020, the Cleopatra Hospitals recorded a year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in revenues of 22%. This has been supported by strong topline growth of more than 25% during the first 2 months of 2020.

However, April witnessed a significant nose-dive in revenues, due to a coronavirus-related panic among patients and staff. 

health Ministry will choose some places within two days, firstly in Cairo, for taking samples from suspected cases of COVID-19 for PCR tests, according to Nancy El-Guindy, the director of the Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL).

These places will send the samples to the CPHL to conduct the required tests.

During a televised interview, El-Guindy explained that there are laboratories in each governorate to detect coronavirus cases, as well as 320 hospitals for the same reason. “Anyone who shows any symptoms [of Covid-19] should go to one of these hospitals,” she said.

She noted that the price of PCR test is EGP 1,000, for those who want to check on themselves, explaining that COVID-19 suspected cases can undergo PCR tests free of charge at hospitals and laboratories affiliated to the ministry.

The Ministry of Health will send convoys across Egypt to provide protective supplies and medicine bags for those in direct contact with coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, Minister of Health Hala Zayed has said.

During a video conference on Friday, Zayed said the medical bags will also be available at medical units located in villages. 

The bags will include drugs that fall under Egypt’s treatment protocol for the coronavirus, and which have been approved by the Ministry of Health’s scientific committee combating COVID-19, according to Ministry of Health spokesperson Khaled Megahed. 

Megahed emphasised that preventative medicine and basic care sector teams based at health directorates in each governorate will distribute the bags to citizens in direct contact with patients. There is also the option for the bags to be delivered directly to homes, with those cases receiving follow up visits from monitoring and investigation teams.  

He added that distributing bags will occur gradually, with the first distributions to be made in Daqahleya, Sharqeya, Giza, Qaliubyia, Ismailia, Minya, and South Sinai governorates. The second phase of distributions will be made to other governorates.

Megahed also said that hospitals will distribute bags including preventive supplies and medicines to coronavirus patients with slight symptoms, and who are subject to home isolation. Their treatment will be according to the protocols based on the health status of each patient. 

Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population has called on retired doctors to head back into the fray to treat coronavirus patients amid staffing shortages nationwide.

In a Tuesday statement, the Ministry asked affiliated health directorates and authorities to report the required number of nurses, doctors, and pharmacists to be recalled from retirement at each department, on the condition that they have retired within the last two years.

Meanwhile, the General Secretariat of Mental Health revealed on Tuesday that it has provided 80 medical personnel at different quarantines nationwide who offered psychosocial support to 420 coronavirus patients since 18 April.

A hotline was launched since the beginning of the pandemic, with approximately 150 mental health and psychosocial support providers to help people get through the crisis.

According to the statement, the hotline has received about 1,716 calls since April, providing psychological support to 913 citizens including 60 healthcare workers.

Moreover, Director of the Central Public Health Laboratories Nancy El-Guindy said on Tuesday that 27 of the authority’s workers have contracted coronavirus.

In a televised phone interview, she asserted that those patients had not been infected while on duty, as they were in direct contact with coronavirus patients.

The Health Ministry said that the number of COVID-19 infections among medical staff that had contacted directly with other coronavirus patients was 291 cases, of whom 11 died.

The Ministry pointed out that quarantine hospitals still have more than 600 available beds, including 300 beds for intensive care. It also confirmed that the stock of preventive supplies in quarantine hospitals would be sufficient for two weeks.

The Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) rebuked the Ministry of Health late on Sunday following the coronavirus (COVID-19)-related deaths of three doctors in one day.

The EMS revealed that a total of 19 doctors have so far died from the virus across Egypt, while 350 others have been infected. 

During the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, the EMS mourned the deaths of Dr Mohammed Abdul-Basit Al-Jabri, a Fever Specialist at Imbaba Fever Hospital, Dr Ahmed Al-Nini, an obstetrician and gynaecologist from Banha, and Dr Walid Yahya Abdel Halim, a resident gynaecologist at Mounira Hospital.

A fourth doctor, Dr Mohammed Al-Banna, is also reported to have died from the coronavirus on the same day, according to several doctors via social media.

The death of Abdel Halim, 32, has sparked outrage among doctors and social media users, with two doctors resigning in protest.

Social media users circulated two resignation letters, one written by Mahmoud Tarek, a colleague of Abdel Halim’s. Tarek resigned from his work at Mounira Hospital and the Ministry of Health, objecting to the ministry’s handling of the situation for healthcare workers and the measures it has put in place for them.

Tarek said in his letter that the ministry left doctors to die “one after another”, without any protection, which he believed led to the death of his colleague. The second resignation came from Dr Khaled Nashat Zaki at Al Shorouk General Hospital.

In a separate incident, the collective resignation of doctors at Mounira Hospital has been published and circulated on social media. In the letter, the doctors said they submitted their resignation due to the Ministry of Health’s inflexibility in its dealings with healthcare staff during the ongoing battle against the coronavirus.

They added that the ministry has issued “arbitrary decisions” regarding PCR testing and quarantine measures for doctors, leading to the deaths of a total of 19, including their colleague Abdel Halim.  

Dr Ashraf Shafi’a, director of the Al Mounira Hospital, said that he has “not officially received the collective resignation, and that the hospital is operating normally so far”, according to Al-Shorouk newspaper. 
EMS council member, Kareem Mesbah, said that Abdel Halim was unable to find a place in which to quarantine, whilst he battled the illness.

“Any talk of compensation, wages, improving workplaces or other demands have no meaning,” Mesbah said in a Facebook post, adding, “Walid died during Eid Al-Fitr, leaving behind a 6-month child.”

The EMS said that the Ministry of Health has failed to protect doctors due to its refusal to conduct early tests to detect new cases. The syndicate also criticised the ministry for its intransigence in providing PCR tests to doctors treating coronavirus patients, and its inaction to quickly provide quarantine bays for infected doctors.

The EMS said the ministry should take full responsibility for the increase in deaths and infections among doctors because of its negligence and failure to protect healthcare workers. 

The syndicate also said that it “will take all needed legal and syndicate procedures to protect the lives of its members, pledging to prosecute all involved in this omission”.   

Meanwhile, the EMS renewed its calls for a quarantine hospital to be allocated for medical workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus. It warned that the healthcare system would totally collapse in case healthcare workers are neglected and ignored.

In response, the Ministry of Health’s Central Unit for Service Providers Affairs announced late on Sunday that the ministry is preparing a quarantine hospital for medical workers.


Earlier, the EMS demanded that the ministry’s new infection control protocol, dealing with medical staff in contact with COVID-19 cases, be changed. The syndicate called for medical workers to be provided with full protective gear, as they are on the frontline of the fight against the global pandemic.

A total of 800 Egyptians repatriated from abroad have left the Ain Shams University dorms after completing their mandatory quarantine period, and have now been allowed to return home.

It remains unclear whether they spent seven or 14 days in isolation at the dorms. Earlier in May, the Quarantine Department at Cairo International Airport, affiliated with the Ministry of Health, reduced the mandatory quarantine period at government isolation units for repatriated Egyptians to seven days, instead of 14 days.

It said that returnees who test negative at the end of the seven-day period will be allowed to spend the rest of their quarantine period at home.

Earlier on Sunday, Beni Suef University President Dr Mansour Hassan said that 568 nationals have left dorms owned by the university after they finished their quarantine period.

A number of university dorms across Egypt have been re-designated as isolation units for Egyptians returning to the country from abroad, and for patients with mild coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

The government has allowed repatriated Egyptian expats to undergo their quarantine periods at university dorms following complaints about the expense of staying at hotels for the duration of the isolation period. 

The government began a large-scale repatriation exercise to bring its citizens home in March, pledging to repatriate all Egyptians stranded abroad.

The Ministry of Health reported 727 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and 28 new fatalities on Saturday, raising the country’s total confirmed cases to 16,513. A total of 4,628 cases have recovered, and 735 have died. 

The latest figures come as the pandemic in Egypt reached its 100th day since the first case was detected in Egypt on 14 February. Dozens of villages and hundreds of families have been quarantined, with strict nationwide measures and restrictions put into effect, in a bid to curb the virus’ spread.

Also on Saturday, the Teachers Syndicate announced the death of the fourth teacher from the coronavirus. Walim Malak, a teacher at the Abdel Moneim Wasel Preparatory School for Girls in Helwan, Cairo, died from complications of the virus. 

In the meantime, the Sharqeya Medical Syndicate announced on Saturday another doctor has died from the coronavirus. Dr Abdul Latif Abdul Hamid, the Director of Health Management in the city of Hihya, died from complications of the disease.

MP Sherine Farag, the first Member of Parliament (MP) to have been diagnosed with the virus, has recovered and discharged from hospital on Friday, MENA reported.

University hospitals across the country are on high alert during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, according to Khaled Abdul-Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research on Saturday. 

The number of medical workers emergency units will be increased, with medical supplies and blood bags at all these hospitals also in place. 

Earlier on Friday, Cairo Governor Khaled Abdel Aal said 30 hospitals in the capital will be prepared to treat coronavirus patients, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and Cairo’s Health Directorate.

The hospitals include the Abbasiya Fever Hospital, the Abbasiya Chest Hospital, Ain Shams Hospital, New Cairo Hospital, Moqattam Hospital, the Coptic Hospital, Sahel Hospital, and the Ahmed Maher and Gomhoreya Hospitals. 

Last Thursday, Abdul-Ghaffar revealed that the true number of coronavirus cases in Egypt could be as much as over 71,000, based on a hypothetical model. It is predicted that the number of cases could  reach 100,000 cases by the end of May under this scenario.   

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said, on Thursday, that crisis management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is based on science and professionalism.

He added that Egypt’s healthcare system is dealing with a range of health needs, including battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Al-Sisi’s comments came during the inauguration of the Civilizational Development Project, the “Fishermen of Basheer Al-Khair Three” fishermen’s shelter in Alexandria.

The government welcomes collaboration with investors on new urban projects, Al-Sisi added.

During the inauguration, Al-Sisi said that a state of the law regarding unlicensed buildings must be established, and anyone caught constructing unlicensed buildings in Egypt must be punished.

Also speaking at the inauguration, Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Development Asem El-Gazzar said that 47% of Alexandria residents live in unplanned housing.

He noted that the government is facing many challenges as part of its EGP 3.5bn redevelopment of slums.

Minister of Transportation, Kamel Al-Wazir, noted, however, that Egypt has jumped about 90 places, to rank 28th in the world for the quality of roads.

The Road Quality Indicator, which assesses the quality of roads worldwide, is one of the components published in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual Global Competitiveness Index .

The Bashayer Al-Khair Three project, which continues on from Bashayer Al-Khair One and Two, is considered a qualitative leap providing adequate housing for residents of the Maawa El Sayadin slum, or fishermen’s shelter area.

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, has said that scientific and academic coordination is ongoing for managing the coronavirus pandemic.

Abdul Ghaffar expects a decrease in infection rates during the first week of June, and that significant efforts to curb the spread of the virus are ongoing,

He added that Egypt may see a peak of 37,000 coronavirus infections by the end of the pandemic.

resident 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 to 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 the 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.

The Ministry of Health issued a protocol of instructions on Monday to guide families caring for patients infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) at home, to prevent infection among families. 

According to the list of instructions, the family member under isolation must be kept in a separate, specially designated room with personal hygiene items, including paper towels, sanitisers and alcoholic disinfectant. Their clothing should not be shaken to reduce the possible spread of the virus through the air.

Families are also encouraged to put a liner in the receptacles used to collect the patient’s clothing. The clothing can also be placed in a plastic bag that is thrown away after the patient’s clothes have been cleaned separately from the rest of the family’s.

The ministry recommended that clothes are washed at high temperature and with disinfectants added to the wash cycle and ironing process.   

The instructions also outlined that carers should wear disposable gloves when dealing with the sick person’s laundry which should also be disposed of after every use. If gloves are not used when dealing with dirty laundry, carers should wash their hands well for 20 seconds.

A separate bathroom for the infected person has also been recommended, which should only be cleaned at intervals to reduce unnecessary contact with the sick person. Should a separate bathroom not be possible, cleaning and disinfection should occur every time following use by the patient.

Patients should also eat in their isolation room, using personal tools which should be washed and disinfected carefully with soap and running water. Allocating a lined rubbish bin for the patient’s waste and refuse is a must, with gloves needed when disposing of its contents, followed by careful handwashing.

The Cairo Medical Syndicate announced on Tuesday the death of Dr Fikry Mounir Aziz, who died from complications related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Aziz is the twelfth doctor to pass away from the virus.

The announcement came on the same day that the Ministry of Health reported 720 new cases and 14 new fatalities. The latest figures raise Egypt’s total number of confirmed cases to 13,484, and 659 deaths with 3,742 recoveries.

Aziz, who worked at the Mar Morcos Hospital in Shubra, undertook a PCR test at Ain Shams University Specialized Hospital after presenting with virus symptoms. He tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement circulated by St Mark Church Shubra and the hospital’s administration. 

The hospital said that it had isolated all those who had been in contact with Aziz, adding that the hospital is working to take all the necessary precautionary measures. 

Over 220 doctors across Egypt have been infected with the coronavirus so far, according to Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) council member Ibrahim El-Zayat. However, he said that this number does not represent the real number of infections, as the Ministry of Health has not released data of infections or fatalities among healthcare workers.

On Tuesday, the Prosecution undertook investigations after a patient at the Abassiya Chest Diseases Hospital, who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, threw himself from the hospital’s fourth floor.

Initial investigations suggest the victim, who was reportedly in his 40s, threw himself from his room window after he was informed of the positive diagnosis. The initial medical examination found that he had suffered a skull fracture and internal bleeding that led to his death.

Cardiology consultant Dr Gamal Shaban announced, in a Facebook post on Monday, that Dr Yousry Kamel, deputy director of the National Heart Institute tested positive for coronavirus. 

The EMS has called for the Ministry of Health to change its new infection control protocol instructions for medical staff in contact with coronavirus cases. It also demanded that a quarantine hospital be allocated for medical workers working at hospitals affiliated with the ministry in Cairo. The move would protect medical workers who are fighting on the frontline against the coronavirus.

Local media has reported that Cairo International Airport’s quarantine department has reduced the quarantine period for repatriated Egyptians to seven days instead of 14. The quarantined citizens would be allowed to leave only after reporting a negative PCR test.

Citizens will be allowed to continue their quarantine period at home following the negative test, the media reports added. If a returnee presents symptoms and they test positive, they will be placed in a quarantine hospital.

TV presenter Ahmed Mousa said on Monday that a tourist village along Egypt’s North Coast has been shut down after several coronavirus cases were detected. 

“A village at 70 km was closed, and visitors who were waiting to spend Eid Al-Fitr holiday there were evacuated,” Mousa said during his TV show Ala Mas’olity.

On Sunday, Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad said that all public beaches and beaches affiliated with tourist villages will be closed during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday. The exception to this would be beaches affiliated with around 10 hotels that have regularised their situations, whilst committing to the 25% occupancy rate limit as outlined by the state’s precautionary measures. 

On Monday, Daqahleya Governor Ayman Mokhtar announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. The governorate’s general office has been disinfected and sterilised, with workers evacuated until disinfection was finished.

he global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has not only put people’s physical health at risk, but it has also had a devastating effect on mental health. The disease has forced many to stay home fearing infection or possibly death.

The pandemic, which started in China in December 2019, has changed that shape of the world. It has led to the closures of borders and public spaces, and the suspension of most public services, schools and flights. Globally, the pandemic has infected 4.8m people and claimed the lives of 316,925.

With many countries putting into effect complete or partial lockdowns, among other precautionary measures, populations are finding they are spending a lot of time at home. This also means they no longer have access to regular social activities or other means of daily life. 

As a result, people have reported they are suffering from trouble with sleep and insomnia, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, depression and panic attacks.

In an April report, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that “a total of 81% of the global workforce of 3.3 billion people have had their workplace fully or partly closed”. Many people have the added stress of losing their jobs due to the economic side-effects of the virus.

Last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the coronavirus “is not only attacking our physical health, it is also increasing psychological suffering, grief at the loss of loved ones, shock at the loss of jobs, isolation and restrictions on movement, difficult family dynamics, uncertainty and fear for the future.” 

He added, “Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, are some of the greatest causes of misery in our world.”

Research published by King’s College London in the online journal Public Health found that quarantine measures are generally “an unsatisfactory experience for those enforced to go through them, as isolation from families and loved ones, distrusting of disease updates, boredom, are all factors that can cause tragic situations”.

The research that referenced 14 studies, found that “two studies reported the need to work and fear of loss of income as reasons for not adhering to quarantine protocols”.

“Participants also mentioned factors relating to ‘life carrying on’ outside of quarantine as reasons for not adhering,” the research continued. “Examples included needing to attend an important event or visiting family and friends.”

Depression, anxiety disorders increase

Dr Hesham Bahary, Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Al-Azhar University partnered with the Abbasiya Mental Health Hospital on the psychological impacts of the coronavirus pandemic for adults and children. 

Bahary told Daily News Egypt that they noticed an increase of depression and anxiety disorders with associated presentations, such as phobias, panic attacks, nervousness, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

He highlighted that increase in behavioural disorders, speech disorders, a tendency to violence, excessive nervousness, and anger were noticed in children and teenagers. 

Bahary noted that due to social distancing, school and sports clubs closure, children and teens have spent most of their time on the internet or watching TV. 

“As they have been isolated, not seeing friends or going to school, we noticed that some try to imitate cartoon characters, which results in what is known as identification with characters,” he said. 

Many people report they avoid seeking help at psychiatrists’ clinics due to fears of potential infection, and because they cannot afford to pay the cost of medical examination and treatment, due to financial problems.

Bahary said that people can try to overcome the effects of quarantine or social isolation by taking up hobbies or activities that can be undertaken at home, such as reading and sports.

“Families could create participatory activities with their children and held cultural or artistic discussion over books or movies to overcome the effect of social distancing,” Bahary said.

In March, the Ministry of Health’s mental health department set up hotlines offering psychological support during coronavirus shutdown. The two telephone numbers are 080-8880700 and 0220816831. 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been offering advice to people in lockdown to face the psychological impacts of the virus. These include staying connected to others even if online, maintaining social networks, practising sports, sleeping well, eating healthily, and avoid continual exposure to news. 

“I live in panic and fear”

Laila, 35 (who asked for her name to be changed), lives in Giza and has been suffering from severe depression and anxiety disorders since 2013. She does not trust online psychological consultations. 

Speaking to Daily News Egypt, Laila said, “I do not trust such online consultations, I feel I will not be safe and that my conversations with the psychiatrist could be leaked.”

Since March, and with the increasing number of coronavirus infections in Egypt, the government has enforced a night-time curfew. It has also shut down entertainment venues, cinemas, theatres and closed schools and universities, calling on citizens to stay home and commit to social distancing. 

Since then, Laila has been suffering regularly from depression, panic attacks, nightmares, and insomnia. 

“Unfortunately, I can not afford to go to a psychiatrist these days, so I get my old prescription and take my antidepressant and benzodiazepines to handle my mental health during this difficult time,” she said. “I live in a state of panic and fear. I still have to go to work three days a week, and I fear I could contract coronavirus and transmit it to my ill mother who suffers from chronic diseases.”

Laila also said that she panicked on finding out that a neighbour had tested positive for the coronavirus, and was transferred to an intensive care unit.

She noted that now, she only works or sleeps, with no other activity during her day.

“I do not see my friends. I do not go to my college where I take part in free studies. Before the coronavirus, I was able to handle my mental health through social activities, seeing friends and the people I love, as we share stories or problems,” Laila said, “I used to go to the cinema and spend good times. But now, I am deprived of all of this.” 

 

She added, “However, the most difficult part is that you do not know when the pandemic will end or when an effective and safe vaccine will be found. Our life has been suspended, and only God knows when we will get it back.” 

At the end, Laila noted, “Maybe normal people could handle this issue easier than us, we who suffer from mental health issues. We can not handle fears of losing our loved ones or panic from being sick and find no hospital for treatment.”

“I overeat or oversleep to handle loneliness, anxiety”

Mohamed (who asked for only his first name to be used) 27-year-old, who lives in Dubai for work, said his biggest fear is that one of his family members contracts the coronavirus whilst he remains trapped in the UAE. 

“The coronavirus has had a bad effect on my psychological health, but I try to avoid facing the consequences through overeating, oversleeping and running from my thoughts,” Mohamed told Daily News Egypt. 

“Sometimes I cry, sometimes I have nightmares. But overall I am trying to be fine by telling myself: What else will happen? I am far away from my family and I am not able to go to them if something bad happens,” Mohamed says. “I am not able to share with them the usual social moments such as spending Ramadan or Eid Al-Fitr with them, and I am alone here spending all my time working or sleeping to overcome anxiety, panic and loneliness.” 

Mohamed said that pandemic has changed the world, and made the streets frightening.

“If I go out to buy something, I feel it is the end of the world, and the streets are like hospitals, people wearing face masks and afraid of contact or infections,” he said, adding, “Everything suddenly changed, and now we have to face this fact.” 

Meanwhile, 30-year-old Cairo resident, Norah, (who also asked for her first name to be used) said that she lost her work due to the coronavirus, and she is now suffering from financial problems. 

“The only money I have is from the March salary. My wedding was supposed to be in April. But of course, it was postponed due to the pandemic,” Noha told Daily News Egypt. “I am not OK, psychologically. Everything is bad, and it does not matter at all what will happen next.”

The Ministry of Interior denied on Sunday that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread among inmates at the Nasr City police station.

The ministry had previously said it is undertaking measures to sanitise and clean detention centres and prisons.

Within the framework of the state’s efforts to implement a comprehensive plan to face the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Egyptian Ministry of Interior has continued to sanitise and sterilise all police stations, centres and prison facilities,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Ministry of Interior said the extensive sterilisation and sanitisation is to ensure the safety of inmates and prison staff.

The statement also said that the ministry’s strategy is to “take all precautionary measures and provide care for all employees and visitors through the continuing deployment of preventive medical teams inside all facilities to guarantee safety for all”.

The ministry statement added that the sterilisation process applied to all police stations, centres and jails nationwide according to a timetable. This is to ensure the sterilisation of all the ministry’s facilities by the preventive medical teams at its medical services sector.

Researchers are working on a treatment protocol for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients that includes two low-cost drugs already in the Egyptian market, according to a Cairo University statement on Friday statement.  

The university said the treatment protocol has been submitted to the Ministry of Health, and, if its effectiveness is proven, clinical trials will be conducted.

The protocol combines antiviral and immune system regulators, which have few effects, the statement said. The treatment aims to cause resisting against the virus and control the immune system’s response.

The protocol is being adopted for trial alongside other protocols after it underwent a careful examination at the Ministry of Health it in the first week of April, the statement noted.

In televised comments, Cairo University Spokesperson Mahmoud Alam El-Din said that the two drugs of the new treatment protocol are available at the Egyptian market at low cost.

He added that the research team has prepared a database of all vaccines that have been on trial to treat coronavirus patients around the world.

Research has been carried out on drugs to combat the coronavirus, such as the antiviral Remdesivir which was approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Cairo University has ranked in first place among Egyptian universities in terms of internationally published research on the coronavirus pandemic, the statement said.

It added that the university has contributed 18 out of 55 Egyptian research papers as well as eight of the 33 clinical trials. 

Researchers have also submitted several projects, which were undertaken with EGP 10m in funding, on immunological scanning of coronavirus patients and healthcare workers. This was conducted to determine the genetic code of isolated viruses from Egypt and the changes that happen to them, the statement highlighted.

The Egypt Medical Syndicate (EMS) announced, on Thursday, three new coronavirus (COVID-19) fatalities among doctors, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus among physicians to 12 so far.

The syndicate identified the doctors as: Dr Yasser Othman, a chest consultant at Al Mamoura Chest Hospital in Alexandria; Dr Abdel Nasser Hassan, Head of the General Physical Therapy Syndicate in Luxor; and Dr Karem Mahmoud, Head of the Internal Medicine Department, at Luxor International Hospital. 

In earlier comments, EMS council member Ibrahim El-Zayat said that about 178 doctors across Egypt have been infected with the coronavirus so far. 

Dr Mohamed Safi El-Din, the head of Al Matareya Teaching Hospital, said on Wednesday that 19 medical and administrative staff at the hospital tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Safi El-Din said that a nurse was patient zero, and passed it on to her colleagues, as she had been in contact with her father-in-law who died from the virus. 

Al-Zahraa University Hospital, affiliated with Al-Azhar University, was closed after the number of coronavirus infections among medical staff and other workers reached 135. 

Al-Azhar University Vice-President Dr Mahmoud Sadek said that 20% of infections at the hospital are among medical staff. 

The Ministry of Health revealed on Thursday details of the government’s COVID-19 coexistence plan until a vaccine has been found.

The plan will be applied over three stages. The first stage will see strict measures implemented to avoid any resurgence in infection rates and will be applied until the daily average of infections reduces.

Entertainment venues, cinemas, theatres, cafesgyms, and sports clubs will remain closed, and all delivery employees working for online shopping and delivery services will be obliged to wear face masks.

The second stage, which will last for 28 days, includes obliging all citizens to wear face masks, stay in well-ventilated areas, and prevent any kind of crowding. 

The third stage will last until the World Health Organization (WHO) reduces its global risk assessment on the virus to low levels. This stage will also see continued monitoring and tracking of infections, the prevention of crowdedness, and obliging restaurants and hotels to abide by health requirements. 

When the WHO has recommended a safe and effective vaccine, the Ministry of Health will begin its use according to its priorities in the plan.

The plan also indicates that if a person tests positive for the virus and has mild symptoms, they will have to self-isolate. Those from high-risk groups will be required to call the COVID-19 hotline, 105, for help.

Businesses and mall owners will be obliged to provide disinfectant sprays and hand sanitizers, whilst also maintaining a low density of clients, and keep up disinfection and sterilisation efforts.

Measures also include the regular monitoring of body temperatures before entering installations, the Cairo metro, and trains, whilst refraining from crowding in public areas.

The plan also includes preventing weddings, funerals and any other kinds of gatherings until virus numbers start to drop. Schools, universities and nurseries are to remain closed.

 

Minister of Health Hala Zayed has reviewed state plans to provide citizens with essential healthcare services during the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The plan looks to provide healthcare services and curb the infection inside healthcare institutions, whilst protecting medical workers. 

The minister’s comments came during a meeting headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Thursday, in the presence of Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Military Production Mohamed El-Assar, presidential adviser for health affairs Mohamed Awad Tag Eldin, and Bahaa El-Deen Zidan the head of Egyptian authority for unified drug procurement, medical supply and medical technology management. 

Zayed explained the plan is based on six factors, with the first depending on each governorate’s activation of crisis management tools. There would need to be simplified mechanisms and protocols to regulate healthcare services provision, in coordination with the right treatment protocols for the virus. There would also need to be a continuous evaluation to define points of strength and weakness in the system. 

The minister added that the plan’s second factor depends on providing healthcare services at external clinics by increasing their numbers and reducing waiting times. Zayed also said that appointments will be booked through a designated call centre, with protocols set in place for dealing with suspected coronavirus cases. 

The third factor looks to make inventories and redistribute manpower as needed, conduct training for medical staff on rapid diagnosis mechanisms, as well as sorting, infection control. It also seeks to reduce manpower inside healthcare institutions in every work shift and adopt a shift system with workers working for two weeks, then resting for two weeks. 

The fourth factor seeks to adopt a training plan to train all medical workers in the basics of intensive care skills. They would also be provided with mobile applications to use if they suspect a coronavirus infection among colleagues. 

The fifth factor will see awareness campaigns undertaken that will inform the public on how family medicine works and the procedures for booking appointments. This would also see the Ministry of Health ensure the availability of medical supplies at all healthcare institutions.

Zayed highlighted that sixth factor in the ministry’s plan will see it activate the “Egypt Health” application. As part of this, an electronic system will be created that links units and centres with hospitals, with the application allowing for remote consulting and diagnostic clinics to take place.

Zayed said that her ministry is working to double the number of workers manning the 105 hotline next week, with the number set to rise from 200 to 400 workers. 

She also reviewed a draft proposal outlining Egypt’s measures to coexist with the coronavirus. The draft proposal would see the gradual return to normal life, whilst also keeping in place the government’s precautionary measures. 

During the meeting, Madbouly called for a speedy completion to the government plan to coexist with coronavirus with details to be announced soon. He stressed the significance of setting penalties for violators of the government measures.

Madbouly also said that the all specifications for face masks to be provided to all citizens will be circulated to factories in coordination with the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

During the meeting, Minister of Military Production Mohamed El-Assar said that his ministry is working to increase face mask production at military factories. He added that production is expected to reach around 4.5 million face masks daily this month.

Prime Minister Mostafa Mabdouly has ordered the speedy completion of plans for Egypt to coexist with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The plan will be completed in coordination between the Ministers of Higher Education, Health and Population, and the Presidential Adviser for Health and Prevention. He stressed the need to include and enforce penalties for those who do not follow the government’s precautionary measures.

At a meeting held on Thursday in the presence of several ministers, Madbouly also followed up on available medical supplies and state efforts to confront the coronavirus.

Minister of Military Production Mohamed Al-Assar said that his ministry’s factories are currently intensifying production of face masks, to reach production rates of about 4.5 million masks per day by the end of May.

During the meeting, Minister of Health Hala Zayed reviewed the state’s plan to provide basic health services as part of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus crisis.

It includes six pivotal parts, and would include governance and crisis management by forming crisis rooms in each governorate, increasing outpatient clinics and reducing waiting times, and adding new mechanisms to provide medicines and supplies.

Zayed also said that they are looking into monitoring inventory through a new electronic system, as well as create awareness campaigns, and encourage access to information through call centres, and a  mobile app.

The ministry is looking to create an electronic system linking units and cenrers at hospitals, issuing a remote consulting application, and offering telemedicine clinics.

Parliament will continue sessions despite the first Member of Parliament (MP) being diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Soliman Wahdan, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The MP was identified as Sherine Farag, who is a member of the House of Representatives’ African affairs committee. The Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday that she tested positive for the coronavirus.

The MP has been quarantined at Cairo’s Qasr Al-Eini hospital, with all MPs who have come into contact with her instructed to undergo 14-day home isolation.

Wahdan added that twelve MPs have come into direct contact with Farag, as she met with members of the Plan and Budget Committee and attended a plenary session last week. He also noted that all have undergone tests, with the results released ut after 48 hours.

“It is not permitted for anything to hinder the work of the legislative institution,” said Wahdan, pointing out that the MP caught the infection from outside the council. He added that it would not affect parliamentary work, as there are important economic, social and political legislations and economic agreements that need to cabinet approval.

Parliamentary spokesperson Salah Hasballah said the committee will hold the next plenary session on 17 May, with the Committee for the Plan and Budget’s involvement to discuss the state’s general budget. Also on the discussion table will be the state’s economic and social plan, in addition to the budget for education, health, youth and sports.

“We will intensify the meetings of the committees to discuss the budget and adopt it before the beginning of the current fiscal year,” Hasballah added.

The parliament resumed sessions on 29 April after being suspended for over a month due to coronavirus fears. In November 2019, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said the current fifth and last legislative term will last until early January 2021.

Minister of Health Hala Zayed has revealed that the total cost of PCR and rapid tests for the coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as medical supplies for repatriated Egyptians in quarantines has reached EGP 28m in the period from 3 to 9 May. The amount covers governorates of Cairo, Giza, Damietta, Red Sea, Suez, Port Said, Alexandria, Aswan, and South Sinai.   

 The minister announced the figures during the weekly ministerial meeting headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Wednesday.

Zayed said that comparisons were made between the number of cases transferred from fever and chest hospitals to quarantine hospitals between 6 and 12 May. It was noted that quarantine hospitals received 59% of infections, while university dormitories and youth centres received 41% of the cases. 

She added that patients spent an average of 11.6 days in quarantine at hospitals across the country, which include the Al-Sadaka Hospital in Aswan15 May Hospital, Esna Hospital, and Qaha Hospital, among others.

Zayed said that 318 of the total recoveries were among patients in the 30-39 age range, while 288 were from the 40-49 age range. 

The Health Ministry reported 338 new coronavirus cases and 12 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total to 10,431 cases and 556 fatalities. Up to 2,486 cases have recovered so far.

Also during the Wednesday meeting, Madbouly said that the state has endured so much to bring back its citizens stranded abroad. He revealed that the number of repatriated Egyptians is expected to reach 16,000. 

 Madbouly added that the government has made efforts to prepare quarantine areas for returnees and provide them with the necessary medical supervision.

The prime minister called on all ministries to apply a plan of expenditure rationalisation to face the economic hardships and fallout due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 Madbouly said that the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) approval of Egypt’s request for emergency financial assistance will contribute to the stability of Egypt’s foreign exchange reserves. The IMF’s $2.772bn assistance will support state efforts in confronting the repercussions of the ongoing health crisis. 

 A total of 882 repatriated Egyptians arrived in the country on Wednesday, coming from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, according to the Ministry of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs. 

 Earlier on Tuesday, 332 stranded Egyptians arrived from Canada to Marsa Alam airport. The airport also received 87 stranded Egyptians from London. Both groups have been quarantined for 14 days in Marsa Alam hotels.

Egypt has conducted over 100,000 PCR medical tests since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, according to Dr Nancy El-Guindy, Director of the Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL). She revealed that more than 2,000 PCR tests are conducted daily.

El-Guindy added that about 1,300 of those tests are being conducted at the central labs in Cairo. She noted that the CPHL has the capacity to conduct over 4,000 tests per day. 

She added that the figures do not include the number of tests conducted for active coronavirus cases at isolation hospitals who are tested every 48 hours until their results show negative twice in a row. 

El-Guindy added that the PCR test takes about 4 to 5 hours, with results released within 24 hours of the test. El-Guindy said that the Ministry of Health is now evaluating a new rapid PCR detection kit that speeds up the testing process.

Minister of Health Hala Zayed directed that results should be released within 12 hours, although some delays could occur due to the high number of cases or due to potential technical issues. 

In addition to the CPHL, Egypt has 28 laboratories conducting PCR testing. The Ministry of Health has raised the capacity of 10 of these labs to conduct more than 100 tests.  

El-Guindy advised citizens not to go for PCR testing before visiting a hospital and conducting chest x-rays and blood analysis, in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. She called for citizens to wear face masks to limit the spread of the infections. 

“We are not sure if asymptomatic patients with COVID-19 can transmit the infection or not,” she said. 

The work at the CPHL and its affiliated laboratories and facilities across the country implements high level of precautions and protective measures to secure the safety of all their workers.

Workers in the virology department are the most vulnerable to contract the infection so they have tighter precautions and are fully protected, El-Guindy said.  

“The COVID-19 virus is similar to influenza, but its main problem is that, until now, the spread has been quick and there are no vaccines. So we need to coexist with the disease whilst taking our protective measures,” she noted. “Egypt’s death rate due to the pandemic has declined from 7% to about 5% of the total infections, which is still below the international rate.”

Egypt’s coronavirus infections rise up to 9,400 with over 2,000 recoveries

 El-Zayat said in a Facebook post on Saturday that tests were conducted on 50 members of staff at the hospital, affiliated to Al-Azhar University, with the positive cases being identified.  

 El-Zayat added that infected cases include staff at Al-Azhar University’s Faculty of Medicine and the hospital. Also affected were the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Al-Azhar University for Girls, the director of curative affairs and the director of clinics. 

 The new infections are the latest among Egyptian healthcare workers, as nine doctors and five nurses have now died from the virus so far. Ehab Al-Taher, Secretary-General at the EMS told Daily News Egypt on Saturday that over 100 doctors have now been infected with the coronavirus.. The country’s total number of coronavirus infections has now surpassed 9,000 cases and over 500 fatalities.

Dozens of infections have been detected inside Egypt’s hospitals since the virus broke out in the country. Medical workers across the country are struggling on the frontlines as they continue fighting the disease

On Sunday, the Health Ministry reported 436 new coronavirus cases and 11 new deaths, raising the country’s total to 9,400 cases and 525 deaths. Up to 2,075 cases have recovered so far.

On Saturday, Al-Azhar University Vice President Dr Mahmoud Sadek said in televised statements on Sada Elbalad TV that 38 coronavirus cases were detected among workers at Al-Zahraa University Hospital. They were subsequently quarantined at the Al-Azhar University Specialist Hospital. 

 Sadek noted that new tests on 100 other workers who were in contact with positive cases will be conducted on Sunday, adding that a worker at the hospital’s kitchen is the source of infection. 

Earlier on Saturday, the Nurses Syndicate announced that a fifth nurse has died of the coronavirus. Attyat Mohamed contracted the virus while on duty at the Damanhour Chest Hospital in Beheira Governorate. 

 Nurses Syndicate Head Kawthar Mahmoud said in televised comments that about 50 nurses in Egypt have been infected with the virus. 

  A video has gone viral showing nurses at the Bagour General Hospital in Menoufiya governorate calling for PCR tests to be carried out before returning to their families amid fears of contagion. 

 Menoufiya Deputy Governor Mohamed Moussa said in televised comments on Saturday that the governor has asked for PCR tests to be carried out on all workers at the hospital.

 Meanwhile, 59 people in a Bahr El-Baqar residential area in Port Said have been quarantined for 14 days after three coronavirus infections in one family were detected. The family had been in contact with positive cases.

The Daqahleya Health Directorate said that new areas in the governorate have been placed under 14-day quarantine periods, after 17 new cases were detected in Nabaruh, two villages in Talkha and Kafr Allam village.

 

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved Egypt’s request for emergency financial assistance of SDR 2,037.1m ($2.772bn) under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to meet the urgent balance of payments needs stemming from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a Monday press statement, the IMF said Egypt achieved a remarkable turnaround prior to the COVID-19 shock, carrying out a successful economic reform programme supported by the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to correct large external and domestic imbalances.

Egypt last month requested fresh assistance from the IMF under both a stand-by agreement and the RFI, saying it was needed to shield the Middle East’s fastest-growing economy from the pandemic fallout.

IMF said the pandemic posed an immediate and severe economic disruption that could negatively impact Egypt’s hard-won macroeconomic stability if not addressed. The Fund added that the RFI will help alleviate some of Egypt’s most pressing financing needs, including spending on health, social protection, and supporting the most impacted sectors and vulnerable groups.

Also, the IMF will remain closely engaged with the Egyptian government and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), to provide policy advice and further support, as needed, the statement read.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically disrupted people’s lives, livelihoods, and economic conditions in Egypt. The global shock has resulted in a tourism standstill, significant capital flight, and a slowdown in remittances, resulting in an urgent balance of payments need,” said Geoffrey Okamoto, First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair.

“The government of Egypt has responded to the crisis with a comprehensive package aimed at tackling the health emergency and supporting economic activity. The authorities acted swiftly to allocate resources to the health sector, provide targeted support to the most severely impacted sectors, and expand social safety net programmes to protect the most vulnerable. Similarly, the CBE adopted a broad set of measures, including lowering the policy rate and postponing repayments of existing credit facilities,” he added.

Okamoto explained that the new loan will limit the decline in international reserves and provide financing to the budget for targeted and temporary spending, aimed at containing and mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic. “The authorities are committed to full transparency and accountability on crisis-related spending including through publishing information on procurement plans and awarded contracts, as well as ex-post audits of such spending,” he added.

Okamoto concluded that Egypt still needs additional expeditious support from multilateral and bilateral creditors to close the payments gap, ease the adjustment burden, and preserve Egypt’s hard-won macroeconomic stability.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has inspected several projects currently being implemented in Qaliubiya to ensure that the preventive measures against the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak are being applied.

He praised the commitment of all site employees in applying the preventive measures and asserted the urgent need to finish the hospital to provide the necessary healthcare services to citizens.

Madbouly also inspected construction works underway at Kafr Shukr’s major water plant with Minister of Housing, Assem El-Gazzar. During the inspection, El-Gazzar outlined that the plant’s capacity can reach up to 45,000 cm/day, at an estimated cost of EGP 220m.

It is anticipated that the station will be completed in 2021 and serve about 225,000 people. Madbouly stressed that service projects, especially infrastructure projects, are very important, and the work on these projects should not be delayed.

Madbouly also inspected one of the ready-made garments factories, which is currently manufacturing medical clothing and masks due the increased demand brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The factory is manufacturing 2,000 items of clothing per day, in addition to masks. Madbouly expressed his appreciation for the factory’s efforts, quality of products, and initiative to manufacture medical clothing and masks to counter the pandemic.

Madbouly also undertook an inspection tour at Cairo Airport to check on the implementation of a number of new precautionary measures.

A total of 98% of the Kafr Shukr Central Hospital in Qaliubiya governorate, at an estimated cost of EGP 212.8m, has been completed, according to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly

The work on the hospital, which has the capacity for 200,000 patients, is expected to be completed by the end of June.

The hospital will have 106 beds, in addition to 14 intensive care unit beds, 28 emergency beds, and a total of 41 beds equipped with dialysis machines

The Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) announced the death of Egyptian doctor Tarek Mekhaimer in Kuwait as he served on the frontlines combating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

In a statement on Saturday, the EMS said the 62 year-old Mekhaimer, who had been working in Kuwait for 20 years, had died after contracting the infection during his work. 

“I offer my condolences on the death of brother Dr Tarek Mekhaimer, the ENT doctor, who was affected by complications from the emerging coronavirus,” Kuwaiti Minister of Health Basil Al-Sabah said via his Twitter account.

Egypt’s Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan said on Friday that he has received a detailed report on the case from his ministry’s representative at the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait. Saafan added that he has also received the latest updates on Egyptian workers in the country.  

Two flights carrying 330 Egyptian nationals which had been stranded in Kuwait arrived at Cairo Airport on Friday. The arrivals come as the first step in repatriating all Egyptian expatriates who are currently stranded in the Gulf country. 

Last week, Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior announced that its forces broke up a riot instigated by Egyptian workers seeking repatriation. The Egyptian nationals were being held in shelters set aside for those who had violated the state’s residency laws. The Egyptian embassy in Kuwait apologised for the riots and reassured workers that repatriation flights will begin this week. 

A source said that the directorate’s Preventive Medicine Department implemented sterilisation and disinfection procedures at the hospital, in addition to imposing 14-day isolation on those who came into contact with the patients.

The number of daily Covid-19 cases in Egypt is still on the rise with 387 new coronavirus cases reported on Wednesday, raising the country’s total to 7,588 cases. The Ministry of Health also reported 17 new deaths, bringing the total death toll to 469 deaths. Up to 1,815 cases have recovered so far.

Also on Wednesday, local officials in Ismailia lifted the medical isolation imposed on the Ezbet El-Laban subdistrict, after it completed the 14-day isolation period.

Meanwhile, the Minya Health Directorate announced the discovery of six new cases in four different cities across the governorate.

Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad said in televised statements on Tuesday that the increase in coronavirus infections that have appeared this week can be attributed to two factors.

The first, he said, is due to the overcrowding that occurred the week before the holy month of Ramadan. The second, he said was down to the decline in commitment to the government’s precautionary and medical measures.

“In the first three weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, citizens were committed, but in the current period this commitment has declined,” Saad said.

He added: “Let’s not deny that the size of the commitment of the Egyptians in the streets has decreased significantly from the first three-week period in which the measures were enforced… All the numbers are spiralling because of the size of the numbers who have mixed with infections.”

“When we said that life is gradually returning to normal, we said with a disciplined return under precautionary and medical procedures,” Saad said.

Cairo University has allocated EGP 24m to 38 research projects, including EGP 5m in funding for eight scientific and laboratory research projects aimed at combating the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a digital meeting on Tuesday, the Cairo University Council, headed by Dr Muhammad Othman Al-Khasht, approved the decision.

The council also approved EGP 9m in funding to 30 proposals submitted by the university’s teaching staff. This comes as part of the university’s efforts to combat the problems that face the society, in particular, Covid-19, the statement added.    

Al-Khasht had earlier announced that teaching staff and researchers from various faculties would be allowed to submit joint research projects as part of efforts to combat the pandemic. They would be able to access funds of between EGP200,000 and EGP1m, based on the conditions announced by the university. 

Also on Tuesday, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar announced Egypt has conducted the highest number of clinical trials and studies in the Middle East and North Africa aimed at combating the virus.

Egypt has carried out 22 clinical trials so far, out of a total of 30 clinical trials across Africa. A total of 44 clinical trials have taken place in the Middle East, according to the ClinicalTrials.gov website, which is run by the US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

Egypt has conducted the highest number of COVID-19 clinical trials in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

In a statement on Tuesday, Abdel Ghaffar said Egypt has so far conducted 22 clinical trials and studies aimed at combating the virus.

 A total of 30 clinical trials, including those run by Egypt, have been conducted across Africa, according to the ClinicalTrials.gov website, run by the US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. 

 The website reported that Gambia, Zambia and Nigeria are each undertaking one study, with two being conducted in South Africa, and four in Tunisia. 

 Of the 44 carried out in the Middle East, Egypt’s figures were followed by Turkey, which has conducted 14, Iran, which has conducted 13. Israel has conducted nine studies, followed by Saudi Arabia and Jordan who have each carried out two studies, and Cyprus and Lebanon who have both carried out one.

 Abdel Ghaffar pointed out that Egyptian universities, including Cairo University, Ain Shams University, and Al-Azhar University, among other institutions have led the way in research. He added that the National Research Centre has also been involved in studies.

The minister said that some studies have focused on a retroactive study of respiratory patients starting in November 2019 until February 2020.

They include a genetic sequencing study of the coronavirus among Egyptian patients, as well as plasma therapy trials for treatments. This comes in addition to a comparative study of some internationally used drugs as well as other laboratory research and clinical researches. 

The total number of studies, as reported by the ClinicalTrials.gov website, shows 1,161 have been undertaken worldwide. Of this total, 432 were Europe, 226 in the US, 109 in East Asia, 33 in Canada, 30 in South America, 13 in Mexico and four in Japan.

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is spearheading an international initiative at the UN aimed at supporting women and children through the fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19). The initiative is being undertaken in cooperation with the National Council for Women (NCW).

To highlight their initiative, the Egyptian delegation addressed the executive director to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and other UN member state missions.

The Egyptian movement will address the negative impacts of the global pandemic on women and children around the world, whilst also mitigating the social impact on the most vulnerable.

Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN, Mohamed Edrees, said the Egyptian delegation asserted the need for international cooperation and exchanging experiences to combat the current challenge.

He explained that Egypt’s UN delegation carefully studied an NCW report on the proposed policies and programmes to support women and children, when addressing the coronavirus crisis.

In cooperation with other countries, Egypt presented a draft to the UN’s General Assembly as part of national and international efforts to respond quickly to the health and social repercussions of the virus. This is with a particular focus on women and girls, who are generally vulnerable members of society, and who are suffering from the pandemic’s outcomes, Edrees said.

According to statistics, women working in the medical field increased to 75% of the global workforce, while in Egypt, women represent 41.1% of doctors and 91.1% of the nursing field.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting the mental health of healthcare professionals and patients, according to the Ministry of Health’s General Secretariat of Mental Health and Addiction Treatment.

A team from the secretariat has visited 12 isolation hospitals allocated to treating coronavirus patients. The visits were designed to provide psychological support and treatment to patients and the medical teams on the front lines.

In a statement on Monday, the secretariat noted that after visiting the isolation hospitals, some healthcare workers and patients were presenting with mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. 

Symptoms include anxiety, fear, difficulty sleeping, psychotic symptoms, loss of appetite, as well as symptoms of mania, depression, and thoughts of and attempted to commit suicide.

The cases range from less severe to acute, with the more acute symptoms requiring immediate medical intervention.

The secretariat added that 1,047 phone calls were received on the Ministry of Health’s mental health support hotline in April. The hotline, manned by ministry trained specialists, was launched in April to provide psychological support in light of the current difficult times.

During the talks, the ministers also discussed ways to boost cooperation to curb the further spread of the virus.

During the discussions, which took place via telephone, Di Maio expressed his country’s appreciation of Egypt’s support during the crisis.

Di Maio hailed the show of solidarity and cohesion between both countries and said that Egypt’s support has enhanced Italian efforts to contain the virus’ spread.

Both ministers confirmed the importance of enhancing joint cooperation between the two countries as part of international efforts to combat the virus, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Ahmed Hafez, said.

The call also outlined continued coordination between Cairo and Rome in all areas of common interest, to meet the aspirations of both countries in security and development, Hafez added.

Hafez also said that Shoukry and Di Maio had discussed the latest developments in Libya, and ways to reach a comprehensive settlement to the crisis. This would help achieve the aspirations of Libyans in restoring security and stability, whilst eliminating terrorist organisations that pose a threat to the security of Libyans and the wider Arab region.

Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed visited Italy in March, under the directive of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Zayed was accompanied by an Egyptian military delegation delivering medical aid, including equipment, protective suits, detergents and sanitisers.

The visit followed a phone call between Al-Sisi and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, as the formerly extended condolences for Italy’s coronavirus victims. President Al-Sisi also expressed his support the country like Italy, one of the European countries hardest hit by the virus, faced the pandemic.

The Medical Syndicate announced on Monday the death of Dr Mahmoud Al-Hindawi, Professor of Neurosurgery at the Faculty of Medicine at Al-Azhar University for Girls from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Al-Hindawi, former director of Al-Zahra University Hospital, is the eighth doctor in Egypt to die from the virus. He was reported to have contracted the disease from a case in the course of his work. 

Later on Monday, the Health Ministry reported 348 new coronavirus cases and 7 new deaths nationwide, raising the country’s total to 6,813 cases and 436 deaths. Up to 1,632 cases have recovered so far.

Earlier on Friday, Cairo University’s vice-dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr Hisham El-Saket, also died from the coronavirus at Ain Shams University’s El-Obour quarantine hospital. Meanwhile, Dr Mamdouh Al-Sayed, former director of the ambulance service in Sohag, also died at Abo Teeg Central Hospital, due to complications from the coronavirus.

Dr Ehab Al-Taher, Secretary-General of the Medical Syndicate, has said that they do not have an accurate count of infections among doctors. He noted, however, that at least 90 doctors have been diagnosed with the coronavirus so far. 

With infections among medical workers increasing, the Medical Syndicate called on the Ministry of Health to activate measures to protect medical staff working in quarantine hospitals from the infection.

The syndicate said that the measures have not been put in place at all hospitals, adding that medical staffs still face the risk of contagion.  

The calls include isolating medical workers following the completion of their work and conducting PCR tests with 48 hour isolations to be enforced should the result return negative until a second test is done.

The Medical Syndicate called for infected medical workers to be provided with quarantine areas, whether in hotels, youth centres or university dorms. It also called for excluding doctors who suffer from chronic diseases, pregnant doctors, mothers who have children under 12, and doctors over 50 years of age. 

The syndicate has filled a report with the Prosecutor General against the director of El-Agamy quarantine hospital. The move comes after the syndicate received complaints he “did not immediately conduct a coronavirus test for a doctor who was in contact with an infected case”. 

“The doctor tested positive and was supposed to be quarantined and treated, but the director insisted on repeating the test, which violates the scientific protocols,” the syndicate said. 

Earlier last week, Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed said that 88% of coronavirus infections among medical workers took place outside their workplaces. The remaining 12% occurred inside hospitals, after dealing with infected cases.

In previous statements, World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Egypt, John Jabbour, said that 13% of Egypt’s coronavirus infections are among healthcare worker. However, no new data on the rate of infections among medical workers in the country has been issued since then.

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