Egypt announces first death from coronavirus

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Mar 2020

Egyptian health ministry emergency responders stand next to ambulances ready on the scene to transport suspected COVID-19 coronavirus disease cases that were detected on a Nile cruise ship, in the southern city of Luxor late on March 7, 2020 AFP

Egypt's Ministry of Health announced on Sunday the death of a German citizen from the coronavirus, the first death from the virus in the country.

A statement by health ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed said that the 60-year-old German citizen tested positive for the coronavirus on 7 March at a hospital in the Red Sea city of Hurghada.

"The patient experienced signs of illness including high body temperature after his arrival in Hurghada from Upper Egypt's Luxor governorate," the statement said, adding that the man "had spent only seven days in Egypt."

The statement said that the German citizen checked into Hurghada General Hospital on 6 March and tested positive for the coronavirus the next day.

"The patient was transferred to the intensive care unit after suffering respiratory failure caused by severe lung inflammation," the statement said.

"The patient refused to be transferred to the specialised quarantine hospital," the statement said, adding that the man suffered health complications and died on 8 March.

The spokesman said that the health ministry immediately took safety measures including the full sterilisation of the hospital in accordance with the World Health Organisation's instructions.

Egypt said on Saturday that a total of 45 people on board a cruise ship in Luxor tested positive for the coronavirus.

The health ministry said the source of infection was a Taiwanese-American woman who travelled in late January on the same ship, which has since been quarantined and towed some 20 kilometres away from the tourist hub.

Before last Friday, Egypt had detected three cases of the virus, including one Egyptian citizen.

Earlier on Sunday, Health Minister Hala Zayed said that the first Egyptian citizen confirmed to have contracted the virus earlier this month was in "critical condition."

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