People wearing masks are seen at a subway station in Shanghai, China January 23, 2020 (Photo: Reuters)
The Egyptian government said on Friday that reports that some Egyptian expats in China has contracted the coronavirus are false.
The cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center released a statement saying that it has communicated with the foreign ministry on the matter, and that the ministry had completely refuted the suggestion of any cases of the viral disease among Egyptian nationals in China.
The foreign ministry stated that the Egyptian embassy in Beijing is following up on the conditions of the Egyptian community in the cities of Wuhan and in Hubei province where it is located through direct contact by phone or through social media platforms, in order to regularly check on their health and provide possible support in light of the Chinese government’s decision to impose a quarantine on these areas.
The embassy has gathered and circulated data on the numbers of Egyptians in Wuhan, it also said.
The ministry called on media platforms and social media users to seek accuracy and objectivity when disseminating news, and to communicate with appropriate authorities to verify news before publishing information that is not based on facts and incites concerns.
In an official statement on Thursday, the cabinet said Egypt's ambassador to China has obtained the necessary approval from Chinese authorities to start arrangements to bring home Egyptian citizens in Wuhan, as per their request.
The Egyptian prime minister has asked civil aviation authorities to provide a plane, with medical teams and equipment on board, to accompany Egyptian passengers, as a precaution against the spread of the deadly virus.
The cabinet called on Egyptians seeking to return from Wuhan to communicate with the Egyptian embassy on [email protected]
or by calling the Chinese line 010 6532 2541.
National carrier EgyptAir has said it is suspending flights to the Chinese city of Hangzhou effective from 1 February, and Beijing and Guangzhou starting 4 February.
EgyptAir also said it would resume flights to Chinese cities “in the upcoming period, in accordance with the incoming reservations and demand.”
The epidemic, which began in the city of Wuhan, has killed at least 170 people in China, with thousands infected worldwide. China has started quarantining areas at the epicentre of the outbreak.