Egyptians who are traveling abroad gather in front of the Egyptian Central Public Health Laboratories as they wait to get tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sheikh Rihan street, downtown Cairo, Egypt March 8, 2020. Picture taken March 8, 2020. (Reuters)
Egypt's health ministry will open 13 new laboratories across governorates on Thursday to conduct tests for the novel coronavirus, a health ministry official said.
The number of labs are expected to be increased later, Nancy El-Gendy, Head of the ministry's Central Department of Laboratories said in TV comments late on Tuesday.
"All citizens can head to fever hospitals to be checked...and they will be then referred to the central laboratories once they show any symptoms," she said in comments to state TV.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the coronavirus costs 1,000 Egyptian pound ($ 63.5), but patients referred from fever hospitals can do the test free of charge, El-Gendy said.
Ministry staff members are currently being trained to use new corona detection kits and medical equipment Egypt has imported as part of efforts to stem the spread of the virus, she said.
Egypt has 196 confirmed coronavirus cases and six deaths, including three foreigners.
The country has imposed a series of sweeping measures to curb the spread of the global pandemic, including the suspension of international flights to and from the country, which will begin on Thursday and last until the end of the month.
The country has also closed schools and universities, halted all sporting events, imposed restrictions on the duration of prayers, and said it will reduce the number of public sector employees who need to go into work.