Egypt to resume exports of anti-virus products as infection rate falls

Egypt to resume exports of anti-virus products as infection rate falls
Egypt is to resume exporting alcohol products, facemasks, and other anti-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) medical supplies following a fall in the country’s infection rate. (File/AFP)
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Updated 17 September 2020

Egypt to resume exports of anti-virus products as infection rate falls

Egypt to resume exports of anti-virus products as infection rate falls
  • An immunology consultant said a high turnover of alcohol products and facemasks earlier in the year had declined in line with the drop in the number of COVID-19 cases
  • Egypt has been recording around 150 new cases of COVID-19 a day

CAIRO: Egypt is to resume exporting alcohol products, facemasks, and other anti-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) medical supplies following a fall in the country’s infection rate.
A decision to ban sales of the items used in fighting the virus pandemic was made in mid-March as the number of COVID-19 cases in Egypt surged.
But with new cases on the decline the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry has announced a lifting of the exports block.
A ministry statement said that Egypt’s trade minister, Nevine Gamea, had given the green light for exports of the products to resume following comprehensive checks with the relevant authorities that the country had sufficient stocks of the items to cover its internal needs.
Gamea pointed out that the government was keen to ensure it had all the necessary supplies in place to continue dealing with the health crisis while also maintaining exports of Egyptian goods such as alcohol and its by-products, medical items, and facemasks.
She said the state’s decision was aimed at preserving the health and safety of citizens while enhancing national economic growth.
Companies producing anti-COVID-19 medical supplies including N95 masks, all types of alcohol and related by-products, facemasks, protective suits, latex gloves, and face shields and glasses, could now start selling abroad again, the minister added.
Immunology consultant, Dr. Amgad El-Haddad, said a high turnover of alcohol products and facemasks earlier in the year had declined in line with the drop in the number of COVID-19 cases in Egypt (which currently stands at 101,500), leaving a supply surplus.
He added that the fall in the infection rate suggested the virus was gradually getting weaker, which was the nature of any pandemic, but he said Egyptians should continue to follow social distancing rules when out and about and wear facemasks.
Dr. Sherif Ezzat, head of the Chamber of Engineering Industries’ medical supplies unit, said Egypt’s production of anti-coronavirus products had been stepped up with 750,000 facemasks being made every day in contrast to 250,000 before the pandemic, and a similar trend applied to alcohol products.
In order to help get infections down to zero, he added that it was important for people to still adhere to precautionary measures.
Egypt has been recording around 150 new cases of COVID-19 a day with the recovery rate and the number of patients being discharged from hospitals on the rise.


Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom

Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom
Updated 26 min 26 sec ago

Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom

Bahrainis detained by Qatar return to kingdom
  • The 3 were released by Qatari authorities on Thursday and arrived in Bahrain via Oman
  • They were arrested while fishing, Bahrain says they were in territorial waters

DUBAI: Three Bahrainis detained by Qatar have arrived back in the kingdom after Manama helped to extradite their release, the Bahrain News Agency reported on Friday.
Bodybuilding champion Sami Al-Haddad, his friend Mohammed Al-Dossari and fisherman Habib Abbas were released by Qatari authorities on Thursday after they were arrested by Qatari coast and border security while fishing at sea, in two separate incidents. Bahrain said that the three citizens were in the country’s territorial waters.
The three men thanked Bahrain’s King Hamad and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad for the attention and care that they had received, which they said had a great impact on their release and return.
They also thanked the interior ministry, headed by Lt. Gen. Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah, and the foreign ministry, headed by Abdullatif Al-Zayani, for their efforts and the measures that contributed to their safe return.
The men said that they were proud to see the “patriotic interest they received for their cause,” both from the government and the Bahraini people.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “profound thanks and gratitude to Oman for the efforts made by the authorities in the sultanate to coordinate and follow up on the release of Bahraini citizens detained in Qatar and to facilitate their return to Bahrain.”
The three arrived in Oman on Thursday following their release, the kingdom’s embassy in Muscat confirmed.
The ministry said that the release of the citizens by Qatar was “a step that reflects the spirit required toward resolving the outstanding issues between the two countries in order to enhance the process of cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.”
The statement also said that Bahrain hoped that Qatar would release Asian sailors who work on Bahraini fishing vessels, and take into account their humanitarian situation.
Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, ended a three-year rift with Qatar on Jan. 5 following a GCC summit in the historic city of AlUla, formally restoring diplomatic relations and opening their land, sea and air borders.