Egypt detects first coronavirus case in Egyptian national

Ayat Al Tawy , Thursday 5 Mar 2020

This is the first case of the new coronavirus detected among Egyptians in Egypt, and the third in the country

File Photo: Egyptian Quarantine Authority employees scan body temperature for incoming travellers at Cairo International Airport on February 1, 2020 (Photot: AFP)

Egypt confirmed the first coronavirus case in an Egyptian who had returned from Europe, the health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a joint statement on Thursday.

This is the third case of the flue-like virus detected in the country, with the first two registered in foreigners, one of whom has since recovered.

The affected Egyptian is a 44-year-old who arrived in the country from Serbia after a 12-hour transit via France, the Thursday statement said. He did not show any symptoms of COVID-19 upon his arrival but went to hospital after a few days after he started to develop minor symptoms.

The man tested positive on Thursday and is being transferred to an isolation hospital to be quarantined, the statement added.

The health ministry said it had immediately informed the World Health Organization. It added it is currently taking all preventive measures and conducting necessary checks for those who were in contact with the person.

All airports in Egypt remain on highest alert against coronavirus, it said.

The second case, confirmed earlier this week, is currently receiving medical care and is in a "stable condition", the ministry said.

Over 2,500 staff members at the company where the foreigner, a Canadian, was detected and other firms dealing with it are being placed under quarantine, Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Wednesday.

The ministry had tested more than 1,900 suspected coronavirus cases but all of them tested negative, she added.

The fast-spreading virus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has so far killed over 3,000 people, and infected more than 93,000 others, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most of the cases have so far been in China, although recent weeks has seen major new clusters develop in South Korea, Iran and Italy, among other countries.

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