French and Canadian cases showed no symptoms of coronavirus while in Egypt: WHO

Ahram Online , Saturday 29 Feb 2020

French and Canadian
Tourists at Hurghada International Airport following their arrival on Saturday (photo courtesy of Egyptian Cabinet)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a statement on the reports of French and Canadian tourists who were confirmed to have contracted coronavirus after leaving Egypt.

The WHO said the confirmed cases in Canada and France who were on a tourist visit to Egypt were discovered in their countries and none of them showed any symptoms while passing through the Egyptian entry points, therefore they could not have been detected by an entry examination.

The WHO said that Egypt only carries out an entry examination for travellers coming from countries where a potential community transmission of the virus is reported, such as China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, since examining all travellers from every country would consume a lot of resources.

The organisation explained that it recommend those entry examinations for such countries as well as an exit check for China in WHO's interim recommendations issued on 30 January after declaring COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern under the International Health Regulations.

The WHO pointed out that reports showed that a small percentage of imported cases are discovered at entry points in countries, even if the examination procedure is in place at crossing points.

The WHO asserted that Egypt is currently in contact with France and Canada to exchange information necessary to track contacts, and will share a report with the WHO in the coming days.

The organisation said that France has already begun to share the results of the investigation and Canada has acknowledged receiving Egypt's request.

The WHO assured that it is working closely with the Egyptian Ministry of Health and provides it with technical advice on investigation and response activities.

The organisation said in its statement that to date, only one case of coronavirus has been reported in Egypt, and that the patient has fully recovered.

Officials from the Canadian province of Ontario has confirmed in a statement late on Friday its eighth case of the novel coronavirus saying that the infected person was a man in his 80s who had recently travelled to Egypt.

France also announced late on Thursday it has detected two coronovirus cases among people who were recently on a tourist trip to Egypt.

Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly stated on Saturday that Egypt has contacted France to follow up on the situation, and that since yesterday, all workers at the French tourists' place of residence in Egypt, as well as the people they engaged with, have been undertaking medical examinations to make sure none was infected.

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