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Egypt confirms seven new coronavirus cases, raising total to 67

The health ministry said that seven patients – six Egyptians and a foreigner – have been released from the isolation hospital after receiving treatment, bringing the total number of recoveries to eight

Ahmed Morsy , Wednesday 11 Mar 2020
Egyptians bound for GCC countries gather in front of the Central Public Health Laboratories in downt
Egyptians bound for GCC countries gather in front of the Central Public Health Laboratories in downtown Cairo on March 8, 2020. (AFP)
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Egypt has detected seven new coronavirus cases, six Egyptians and a foreigner, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of the virus in the country to 67, Egypt's health ministry said on Wednesday.

According to health ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed, the infected persons had been in contact with people who previously tested positive for the virus.

"The seven new cases were detected thanks to the investigation procedures that the ministry undertakes in coordination with the World Health Organisation and in accordance with its guidelines," Megahed said.

In a separate statement issued earlier in the day, the ministry announced the detection of one new coronavirus case, the country's 60th, who came in contact with another four virus carriers announced earlier this week.

The ministry said on Monday that the four patients are three Egyptians and a foreign woman, adding that they had come in close contact with previously detected cases, without elaborating.

Of the 27 infected patients in the country who later tested negative for the virus, there are seven patients – six Egyptians and a foreigner – who have been released from the isolation hospital after receiving treatment, bringing the total number of recoveries to eight.

Egypt announced the first case of coronavirus on 14 February of a Chinese national who was later released and returned to his homeland after recovering.

The rapidly growing outbreak of the coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has so far killed over 4,300 people and infected more than 121,000 worldwide.

Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Wednesday that all random samples taken from over 500 foreign tourists and staff members in the southern tourist city of Luxor and Aswan all tested negative. Luxor saw the biggest cluster of cases in the country yet, with 45 cases detected aboard a River Nile cruise ship.

Egypt announced on Sunday its first and only fatality from the respiratory illness, a German national who had travelled to Luxor before dying in a hospital in the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada.

Egypt has stepped up measures to contain the spread of the virus, intensifying precautionary measures including scaling up the sterilisation and disinfection process at airports and aboard planes

The aviation ministry said on Wednesday that it is carrying out medical checks on all passengers coming to Egypt and issuing cards to travellers arriving from countries where the virus has spread to follow up on their condition over the incubation period of 14 days.

The company operating Cairo's metro said on Tuesday that the Egyptian authorities have been distributing medical face masks to workers and passengers at Cairo metro stations as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the virus.

The country's railways authority is also stepping up sterilisation efforts at stations and on trains.

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