All phosphate that entered the Nile when a barge capsized in Upper Egypt has been removed, Water and Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazi has said.
The minister said he had received a technical report saying phosphate was taken out of the sunken barge. However, efforts are still ongoing to take out the barge itself.
The minister reiterated that the water was “good for all uses.” He denied any connection between cases of poisoning in the Nile Delta city of Sharqiya and the sinking of the barge.
On Tuesday, a barge carrying 500 tonnes of phosphate capsized in Upper Egypt’s Qena, sparking fears over contamination of Egypt's primary source of drinking water.
On Friday, some 379 people in Sharqiya were hospitalised showing symptoms of poisoning, with polluted water the main suspected cause.
Any contamination would take 12 days to pass from Upper Egypt to the Nile Delta, while in this case only three days had passed, setting the two incidents apart, Moghazi added.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Adel Adawy said his ministry is taking samples from the Nile every 12 hours and is on high alert for emergencies.
Egypt is heavily dependent on the Nile River, from which it gets 55 billion cubic metres of water annually.