At least 17 doctors, nurses at Egypt's National Cancer Institute test positive for coronavirus

Menna Alaa El-Din , Saturday 4 Apr 2020

The announcement came hours after Egypt had reported its highest one-day rise of infections since the beginning of the outbreak, with total cases currently standing at 985, and 66 deaths

Egypt's National Cancer Institute test positive for coronavirus (Photo: Al-Ahram)

At least 17 doctors and nurses at Egypt’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) tested positive for the coronavirus, Cairo University, which manages the country’s main cancer hospital, announced on Saturday.

The university said it will open an investigation into the new cases to stand on reasons for negligence if found, and punishing those responsible.

Mahmoud Alam El-Din, Cairo University spokesman, said the university has decided to restrict outpatient clinics to emergency cases after closing the NCI for only one day on Saturday as part of the preventive measures adopted to stem the spread of the disease, 

Alam El-Din said the NCI has taken the necessary measures to ensure the safety of medical staff at the hospital and that preventive gear against the disease are worn.

He said that the university has appointed two new teams for infection control in the institute to manage the issue in the coming period with a technical committee formed by  Cairo University President Mohamed Othman El-Khesht to review implemented medical criteria at the NCI in infection control for the safety of the medical staff, workers, and patients.

Saturday’s announcement comes one day after the Egyptian Doctors' Syndicate had announced on Friday on its official Facebook page that a number of cases among medical professionals at the NCI were detected.

NCI Director Dr Hatem Abul-Kassem told MBC Masr satellite channel on Friday that the infections tally at the NCI was 15, comprising three doctors and 12 nurses after testing 42-45 of the medical staff. 

He admitted that some of the infections were detected a week ago after a male nurse had exhibited coronavirus symptoms and was self-quarantined. He later tested positive for the virus.

Abul-Kassem added that the NCI will continue to sterilise the hospital on Saturday, adding that the hospital had already lowered the number of patients to 60.

The announcement came a few hours after Egypt reported on Friday its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases and deaths with 120 new cases and eight fatalities, bringing it closer to 1,000 infections as authorities warn of a more rapid spread of the pandemic.

Until Friday, the total number of cases stood at 985 and deaths at 66.

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