Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has phoned Mohamed Hindawi, the husband of the Egyptian doctor who had died after contracting the novel coronavirus, to offer his condolences and deplore "disgraceful" attempts by locals to prevent her burial.
"I speak to you as an Egyptian citizen … to express my condolences and apologise to you on behalf of the Egyptian people for the disgraceful behavior by some of the people of the Shobra El-Bahw village," Madbouly told the husband, according to a cabinet statement.
Sonia Aref, a retired physician, passed away shortly after testing positive. Her daughter was the source of infection.
The ambulance transporting the late doctor’s body did not immediately reach the cemetery of the Dakahlia Shobra El-Bahw village, thanks to villagers who blocked the road, out of belief that her burial could spread the virus in the area. The notion was categorically denied by the health ministry.
The Egyptian police later fired teargas to disperse the crowd and arrested 23 people in the process, allowing the burial to take place.
The coronavirus has thus far killed 159 people in Egypt, with more than 2,000 cases reported.