Senior Egyptian army officials dead as leaked report exposes widespread coronavirus military outbreak

Senior Egyptian army officials dead as leaked report exposes widespread coronavirus military outbreak
A leaked report suggests at least 15 military officers may have contracted the COVID-19 disease amid concerns Egypt has failed to adequately test for cases of the novel coronavirus.
2 min read
23 March, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak in Egypt has claimed 14 lives so far [AFP]
Two senior Egyptian military officials have died from the novel coronavirus in recent days amid concerns over President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's response to the pandemic.

Major General Shafie Abdel Halim Dawoud "died while fighting coronavirus", state television reported on Monday without giving any further details. Dawoud was the director of the armed forces' major projects department responsible for much of the country's infastructure development.

A day earlier, state media reported the death of Major General Khaled Shaltout due to the COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus. Shaltout was director of the water department of the military's engineering sector.

Official confirmation of the generals' deaths comes after a leaked report that appeared to suggest the coronavirus outbreak was widespread among members of the military.

Shared widely on social media, the leaked report contained a list of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases among the military. Those listed appeared only to be individuals who were symptomatic or had been exposed to confirmed cases.

Fifteen military officials were listed as confirmed or suspected cases, including Shaltout and Dawoud who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Three others were listed as confirmed cases.

Egypt has so far confirmed 327 cases of the COVID-19 diseas, including 14 fatalities.

Cairo has faced scrutiny over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Sisi has been accused of masking information about the virus' spread and failing to adequately test suspected cases.

The Egyptian president claimed on Sunday his government had dealt with the pandemic with "full transparency".

"Why would we hide anything from you?" Sisi said in a televised address, adding that those questioning the official data "want to make people feel insecure".

Egyptian authorities have imposed tough measures to limit social interaction in the country of 100 million inhabitants.

They have closed schools and universities, ordered cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, sporting clubs and malls to close by 7.00 pm, and told many public sector employees to avoid the workplace.

On Saturday, the country's religious authorities ordered the closure of all mosques and churches and banned communal prayer gatherings for at least two weeks.

Agencies contributed to this report

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