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

  • 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.


Saad Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

Updated 34 min 51 sec ago

Saad Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

  • Hariri immediately promised a government of technocrats committed to a French-backed reform plan
  • He has previously led three governments in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Three-time Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was named to the post for a fourth time Thursday and immediately promised a government of technocrats committed to a French-backed reform plan.
Hariri said he would “form a cabinet of non politically aligned experts with the mission of economic, financial and administrative reforms contained in the French initiative roadmap.”
“I will work on forming a government quickly because time is running out and this is the only and last chance facing our country,” he added.
President Michel Aoun named Hariri to form a new cabinet to lift the country out of crisis after most parliamentary blocs backed his nomination.
Hariri, who has previously led three governments in Lebanon, stepped down almost a year ago under pressure from unprecedented protests against the political class.
“The president summoned... Saad Al-Deen Al-Hariri to task him with forming a government,” a spokesman for the presidency said.
Hariri was backed by a majority of 65 lawmakers, while 53 abstained.
Lebanon is grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades and still reeling from a devastating port blast that killed more than 200 people and ravaged large parts of Beirut in August.
Aoun warned Wednesday that the new prime minister, the third in a year, would have to spearhead reforms and battle corruption.
A relatively unknown diplomat, Mustapha Adib, had been nominated in late August following the resignation of his predecessor Hassan Diab’s government in the aftermath of the deadly port blast.
Adib had vowed to form a cabinet of experts, in line with conditions set by French President Emmanuel Macron to help rescue the corruption-ridden country from its worst ever economic crisis.
He faced resistance from some of the main parties however and threw in the towel nearly a month later, leaving Lebanon rudderless to face soaring poverty and the aftermath of its worst peacetime disaster.