First Egyptian MP infected with coronavirus, twelve others quarantined
An Egyptian lawmaker has been infected with Covid-19, becoming the first member of Egypt’s parliament to catch the novel coronavirus. Twelve other MPs who recently had contact with her have been quarantined.
Suleiman Wahdan, the deputy speaker of Egypt’s House of Representatives, as parliament is officially called, announced on Wednesday that MP Sherine Farrag “had been infected with coronavirus and was now in quarantine and treatment” at the Qasr al-Aini Hospital in central Cairo.
Wahdan said that Farrag had caught the deadly virus after coming into contact with people outside parliament. He said that 12 other MPs from Egypt’s 596-member parliament were being tested and had been quarantined to make sure they were free of the virus.
Last week, Farrag took part in parliament’s discussions and raised questions about the country’s annual budget. The current Egyptian parliament is widely viewed as a powerless body which rubber-stamps decisions made by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
So far there have been 10,093 officially confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 544 deaths. While this death toll is low compared to the US and European countries, it is the highest in the Arab world and there are reports that the actual number of coronavirus cases is far more than the official count.
Wahdan said that the Egyptian parliament’s sessions would continue but only in the main chamber of the parliament building, so that social distancing regulations could be enforced. He added that decontamination measures would be taken.