Egypt's health ministry denies The Guardian claims that 19,000 Egyptians contracted coronavirus

Ahram Online , Monday 16 Mar 2020

Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed (Al-Ahram)
Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed (Al-Ahram)

Egypt's Ministry of Health said that reports published by The Guardian newspaper, estimating the number of coronavirus cases in Egypt at more than 19,000, are "completely false."

Spokesperson of the health ministry Khaled Megahed stressed in a statement on Monday that the ministry immediately announces confirmed cases "in full transparency according to international health regulations, and in coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO)."

Megahed denounced the newspaper’s reliance on "the speculation of a researcher" in estimating the number of infected cases in Egypt.

He stressed that the WHO is the only official body entrusted with following up on the pandemic globally, and that the ministry provides WHO's Egypt office with updated data on a daily basis.

Megahed emphasised that the WHO monitors all preventive measures taken by the health ministry with the infected people and their contacts.

The Egyptian cabinet's media centre also denied the reports on its Facebook page on Monday.

The cabinet mentioned a statement by WHO's representative in Egypt, John Jabbour, who told CNN that Egypt has one of strongest monitoring systems in the region before praising Egypt's containment of the virus' infection rates.

The number of Egyptians infected with coronavirus has risen to 150, stated Osama Heikal, the minister of state for information, at a press conference held in Cairo on Monday, with the number of deaths rising to three in the country.

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