Egypt's cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law that mandates drug tests for state employees, with possible firings for those who test positive or evade it.
The bill requires prospective and existing employees at ministries, state companies, local authorities and other state bodies to undergo a drug test before being hired, promoted, awarded a contract or having their contract renewed, the cabinet said in a statement.
For existing employees, the test will be carried out without prior notice. Those who test positive will be "suspended from work by the force of law," the cabinet said.
The new regulations also apply to those working at orphanages, care houses, rehabilitation centres, nurseries, schools and private hospitals.
The bill mandates that employees who refrain from undergoing tests or deliberately evade them without a plausible excuse will be terminated from their jobs.
The draft law will be referred to parliament for approval.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly urged stiffer penalties for government employees who test positive for drugs, after a railway employee involved in a deadly train station fire last month tested positive for narcotics.
An anti-drug fund affiliated with the social solidarity ministry offers free-of-charge, confidential treatment for drug users. The fund's hotline (16023) has been announced at state bodies and universities.