Egypt closes hospital after 21 medics test positive for coronavirus

Egypt closes hospital after 21 medics test positive for coronavirus
A hospital in Egypt's Dakahlia Governorate will be closed for three days after 21 doctors, nurses and radiologists tested positive.
2 min read
09 April, 2020
Egypt has reported over a hundred deaths from Covid-19 [Getty]
Egypt closed a hospital Thursday morning after 21 positive cases of coronavirus were discovered among staff, raising fears that the pandemic could be more widespread that is being officially acknowledged.

Makram Radwan, a member of Egypt's parliamentary health committee, announced the closure of Sadr Dikirnis Hospital in Dakahlia Governorate for three days after dozens of doctors, nurses and radiologists tested positive for Covid-19, The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported.

The hospital, which first reported a suspected case of coronavirus last week, will be reopened after it has been fully sterilised.

Radwan said in his statement Thursday that all contacts of the newly diagnosed cases will be tested for coronavirus while they self-isolate.

He added that over a hundred medical and administrative staff were being quarantined in a hospital in Mansoura, the capital of the governorate, until their test results are released.

There have been over 1,500 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Egypt, in a total population of roughly 100 million, and more than 100 deaths, according to a tally kept by John Hopkins University.

At least 15 medics in Egypt's main cancer hospital were quarantined after testing positive for the coronavirus, officials said on Saturday.

Egypt's health ministry said last week that medical staff made up 10 percent of all those infected by coronavirus in the country.

Authorities have closed schools and mosques, banned public gatherings and imposed a nighttime curfew to prevent the virus from spreading among the population of 100 million - a fifth of whom live in the densely-populated capital, Cairo.

Last month, a journalist working for British daily The Guardian was forced to leave Egypt after she cited a Canadian scientific study that said the country was likely to have many more coronavirus cases than reported by authorities.

Read more: Coronavirus pandemic deals heavy blow to Egypt's working poor

Journalist Ruth Michaelson was advised last week by Western diplomats that Egypt's security services wanted her out of the country immediately, the Guardian said.

Michaelson's 15 March report cited a study from University of Toronto infectious disease specialists, which estimated an outbreak size of 19,310 cases in Egypt.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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