Egypt to conduct rapid tests for arrivals from countries with coronavirus variants

Ahram Online , Saturday 8 May 2021

Health Minister Hala Zayed said the rapid molecular test, known as ID NOW, only takes 15 minutes to detect coronavirus infection

Travelers wearing face masks amid coronavirus outbreak in Cairo International Airport (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt will conduct a rapid coronavirus test for visitors from countries where coronavirus variants emerged upon their arrival in the country, the health ministry said.

Health Minister Hala Zayed in a video conference on Friday said the rapid molecular test, known as ID NOW, only takes 15 minutes to detect coronavirus infection.

Egyptians and non-Egyptians coming from the countries with coronavirus variants are required to undergo the test, and they will also be subject to medical examination, Zayed pointed out.

A PCR test results are also required, which the visitors have to submit before entering the country, she added.

However, the minister did not specify the countries the decision applies to.

The move comes as many countries are currently facing a new variant of coronavirus, which was first detected in India and is scientifically thought to be more transmissible.

India has been recently hit by one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks.

Mohamed Abdel-Fattah, Egypt’s deputy health minister for preventive medicine, earlier this month said the Indian variant, dubbed B.1.617, extended to 17 countries, including Iraq and Jordan.

Africa’s Kenya, Uganda and South Africa all detected this strain coming from India.

Zayed during the video conference said Egypt has not recorded new coronavirus variants thanks to the preventive measures it has taken at its entry ports immediately after the warnings by the World Health Organization.

She noted that a total of more than 5.4 million visitors coming from abroad have been examined at various Egyptian ports since the start of the pandemic.

The country is currently suffering from a third coronavirus wave and the new daily infection toll has topped 1,000 every day since 27 April for the first time since 9 January.

Egypt has so far vaccinated around 1 million citizens, according to official statements.

A surge in coronavirus cases over the past month has forced the government to take tougher precautionary measures, especially ahead and during the feast of Eid Al-Fitr, which is expected to start on Thursday.

The new measures, taking place from 6 to 21 May, include the closure at 9 pm of shops, malls, coffee shops, restaurants, and movie theatres. However, restaurants will be allowed to make home deliveries past 9pm.


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