Egypt finds first case of coronavirus

Egyptian Quarantine Authority employees prepare to scan body temperatures of incoming travelers at Cairo International Airport. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 16 February 2020

Egypt finds first case of coronavirus

  • People who came in contact with the patient were quarantined in their homes for 14 days as a precautionary measure

CAIRO: Egypt has identified its first case of coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The virus was discovered in a foreigner whose identity and nationality have not been officially disclosed. However, a source suggested that the individual was from China.
Meanwhile, France also reported the first fatality from the new coronavirus outside Asia on Saturday, as the death toll from the outbreak jumped past 1,500 in China. More than 66,000 people have now been infected in China from a virus that emerged in central Hubei province in December before spreading across the country and some two dozen countries.
Egypt, however, took all preventive measures in cooperation with WHO, said Media Adviser to Minister of Health Khaled Mugahed and added that the WHO was informed immediately of the case, as the patient was taken to hospital where he is in isolation and is having constant checkups. Mugahed said the patient had not shown any signs of deterioration and was “completely stable.”
He said the ministry had adopted strict preventive measures for those who came in contact with the patient by conducting the necessary tests, which came back negative.
People who came in contact with the patient were quarantined in their homes for 14 days as a precautionary measure.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)


Those in isolation are being checked every eight hours and given instructions regarding their health. Among the preventive measures was the disinfection of the building in which the residents were living.
Mugahed said that the foreign patient tested positive for coronavirus even though he failed to show symptoms.
A source from the MOHP told Arab News that the foreign carrier of the virus is Chinese and was monitored during the past few days using periodic follow-up cards that are given to passengers at airports coming from abroad.
The source said the carrier of the virus was transferred to Al-Nujaila Hospital by ambulance. The carrier then went through further medical examinations.
A team from WHO is monitoring the patient’s condition. Official sources at the Ministry of Aviation confirmed that all precautionary measures have been taken at Cairo Airport.
John Gabor, a WHO representative in Egypt, praised the speed and transparency of the Egyptian government in dealing with the situation as well as its keenness to inform the organization of the patient as soon as it was suspected.

HIGHLIGHT

More than 66,000 people have now been infected in China from a virus that emerged in central Hubei province in December before spreading across the country and some two dozen countries.

Gabor stressed that Egypt was one of the first countries to develop a good preventive plan to address the emerging coronavirus and deal with infected cases once they are discovered.
Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed held a meeting with the ministry’s leaders to follow up the implementation of the ministry’s plan to deal with the coronavirus.
Zayed added that results will be known after the 14-day incubation period of the virus.
WHO confirmed that a coronavirus carrier cannot be infected as long as the person does not show symptoms of the disease because it is possible that his immunity will overcome the virus before infection.
Zayed said the problem is not that a person is infected with the coronavirus and does not know it, but in the inability to manage the crisis in a way that prevents the spread of infection.
The minister said Egypt was fully prepared to deal with the epidemic and prevent its spread, and that there are other countries that are, up until now, not as well equipped.
The death toll from the virus has neared 1,400 cases, almost exclusively in China where it was first identified. It has infected more than 64,000 people globally.


Initial investigations point to negligence as cause of Beirut blast

Updated 3 min 8 sec ago

Initial investigations point to negligence as cause of Beirut blast

BEIRUT: Initial investigations indicate years of inaction and negligence over the storage of highly explosive material in Beirut port caused the blast that killed over 100 people on Tuesday, an official source familiar with the findings said.
The prime minister and presidency said on Tuesday that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures.
"It is negligence," the official source told Reuters, adding that the storage safety issue had been before several committees and judges and "nothing was done" to issue an order to remove or dispose of the highly combustible material.
The source said a fire had started at warehouse 9 of the port and spread to warehouse 12, where the ammonium nitrate was stored.
Tuesday's explosion was the most powerful ever suffered by Beirut, a city is still scarred by civil war three decades ago and reeling from a deep financial crisis rooted in decades of corruption and economic mismanagement.
Badri Daher, Director General of Lebanese Customs, told broadcaster LBCI on Wednesday that customs had sent six documents to the judiciary warning that the material posed a danger.
"We requested that it be re-exported but that did not happen. We leave it to the experts and those concerned to determine why," Daher said.
Another source close to a port employee said a team that inspected the ammonium nitrate six months ago warned that if it was not moved it would "blow up all of Beirut".
According to two documents seen by Reuters, Lebanese Customs had asked the judiciary in 2016 and 2017 to ask the "concerned maritime agency" to re-export or approve the sale of the ammonium nitrate, removed from the a cargo vessel, Rhosus, and deposited in warehouse 12, to ensure port safety.
One of the documents cited similar requests in 2014 and 2015.
"A local and international investigation needs to be conducted into the incident, given the scale and the circumstances under which these goods were brought into the ports," said Ghassan Hasbani, former deputy prime minister and a member of the Lebanese Forces party.
Shiparrested.com, an industry network dealing with legal cases, had said in a 2015 report that the Rhosus, sailing under a Moldovan flag, docked in Beirut in September 2013 when it had technical problems while sailing from Georgia to Mozambique with 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.
It said that, upon inspection, the vessel was forbidden from sailing and shortly afterwards it was abandoned by its owners, leading to various creditors coming forward with legal claims.
"Owing to the risks associated with retaining the ammonium nitrate on board the vessel, the port authorities discharged the cargo onto the port's warehouses," it added.