Tourism ministry closes hotel in Hurghada after 47 tourists contract food poisoning

Ahram Online , Sunday 31 Oct 2021

The Ministry of Tourism decided to close a hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada for "endangering guests' lives," the Public Prosecution said on Sunday, as 47 foreign guests fell sick after dining in the hotel.

Tourists enjoy a day by the beach during a low tide in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt February 14, 2021. REUTERS

The prosecution said that it received an administrative decision by the ministry department dedicated to monitoring hotels and tourist resorts to also suspend the director of the hotel for three months.

While the prosecution did not name the hotel in its statement, Ahram Online’s sources confirmed that the establishment in question is the five-star AMC Royal Hotel.

The hotel — which was also not abiding by the coronavirus preventive measures issued by the cabinet — will remain closed until the reasons for the closure are addressed, the statement said.

The prosecution also ordered the detention of the assistant director of the hotel’s food and beverages department, the chief cook, and the head of quality assurance at the hotel for four days pending investigation. The three defendants denied the accusations levelled against them, added the statement.

Moreover, it ordered an urgent investigation into the incident, saying the patients, who have all been hospitalised, include 29 Russians, 14 Estonians, and four Czechs.

Additionally, the prosecution mobilised a specialised health committee to collect food samples from the hotel’s kitchen, freezers, preparation areas, as well as water samples for examination.

The committee will issue a detailed report on their findings soon.

Some of the patients have already recovered while some remain under medical observation, the prosecution said.

Furthermore, the prosecution assigned a preventive medicine committee to collect samples from the patients for examination and speak with the guests that did not fall sick after consuming the hotel’s food.

Speaking to Ahram Online earlier today, Sayed Saber, the owner of the AMC Royal Hotel, said many tourists came down with food poisoning after dinner and started showing symptoms — including diarrhea and vomiting — on Saturday.

Saber added that the sick tourists were transferred to nearby hospitals to receive treatment.

The Russian Consul-General in Hurghada, Viktor Voropayev, told TASS — Russia’s state-owned news agency — that all the patients are in stable condition and will be able to leave the hospital by Monday.

Furthermore, given the AMC Royal’s closure, its clients have all been relocated to other hotels, according to Voropayev.

The AMC Royal was hosting around 600 guests, including 400 Russian and Belarusian Russians, according to Saber.

The hotel may face financial penalties and even full closure and license revocation over failing to stick to the sanitary requirements, the Egyptian Federation of Tourist Chambers told TASS.

Russian travellers are a major contributor to the country’s tourism industry and a key source of hard currency.

More than 3.1 million Russian tourists visited Egypt in 2014, representing 33 percent of all tourists received that year.

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