Egypt has announced that El-Negelah isolation hospital, the country’s first makeshift quarantine facility designated for coronavirus patients, will stop receiving patients infected with the virus and will instead return to normal operation by receiving other patients.
The decision comes as Egypt has increased the number of hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients as well as quarantine departments in fever hospitals nationwide, Mohamed Taleb, the hospital's deputy director, told Ahram Online.
“There is no need now for [special] isolation hospitals,” he said.
The government announced earlier this month that the number of hospitals designated to deal with coronavirus cases, in addition to previously assigned quarantine facilities, is rising to 376 from 340.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said last week that Egypt is still able to absorb the rise in infections, pointing out to a reserve of hospitals belonging to the armed forces and the police.
In January, the Egyptian government converted El-Negelah Central Hospital in Marsa Matrouh governorate to be the first country's quarantine hospital, after the contagion surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Later, another 30 hospitals were converted to isolation facilities to accommodate Covid-19 patients.
In early February, El-Negelah commenced its new task, receiving Egyptians who had been repatriated from Wuhan, the first epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. It also hospitalised the first confirmed coronavirus case discovered inside the country, in mid-February, who recovered two weeks later.
The country’s health ministry has assigned 30 fever hospitals countrywide — out of 80 conducting examination and triage for suspected coronavirus cases — to isolate and treat confirmed cases.
With a 52-bed capacity, El-Negelah received a total of 280 patients, of whom 215 recovered and 23 died, the deputy director pointed out.
He added that another 35 patients who are still receiving medical treatment have been transferred to university hostels and another isolation hospital in Alexandria.
El-Negelah will resume receiving all ordinary medical cases after necessary sterilisation and disinfection measures are undertaken, according to Taleb.
The hospital, inaugurated in 2017 to serve Marsa Matrouh's residents, includes departments for general surgery, orthopedics, urology, neurosurgery, pediatrics, gynecology, obstetrics, and others.