The National Heart Institute in Cairo (Photo:Ahram)
The dean of Egypt’s Heart Institute Mohamed Osama has announced the shutdown of the institute’s admission department after a nurse tested positive for COVID-19.
“The [nurse] had been treating a patient at the institute who was infected with COVID-19,” Osama said, without specifying if this patient was receiving treatment for coronavirus or another medical condition.
The institute’s director said that all of the institute’s facilities have been sterilised and the 16 medical workers who came in contact with the patient have tested negative for the virus.
“The infected [nurse] is now quarantined in an isolation hospital and is in stable condition,” Osama said, adding the institute’s admission department will reopen on Thursday.
There are no official statistics yet on the number of medical workers infected with COVID-19 since Egypt recorded its first case in mid-February.
Last Saturday, at least 17 doctors and nurses at Egypt’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Cairo University, which manages the country’s main cancer hospital.
A nurse at Al-Khanka hospital for mental health in Qalyoubia governorate and six medical workers in Upper Egypt’s Aswan governorate have also tested positive or the virus.
So far, Egypt has registered 1,560 coronavirus cases and an overall death toll of 103.
Monday saw the highest number of cases detected in a single day since the first case was recorded in the country in mid-February with 149 cases, and the highest day fatalities were recorded on Tuesday and Wednesday, both at nine.
The health ministry said in a statement that the number of coronavirus patients who have retested negative for the virus has reached 439, of whom 305 have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals.
In the past seven days, coronavirus infections in the country saw a huge leap with 715 cases recorded nationwide. In response, Egypt extended on Wednesday a nationwide night-time curfew by two weeks.
The curfew, first imposed on 25 March, will continue to be in effect until 23 April and will now begin at 8 pm instead of the previous 7 pm, Egypt’s PM Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised press briefing.
The amended hours are intended “to give citizens more time to return home to alleviate congestion and pressure on both private and public transportation,” Madbouly explained.
The closure of schools and universities and the decision to slash the number of state employees going to work will be extended for the same period to lower the risk of virus transmission, the PM added.
Since mid-March, Egypt has suspended mass prayers at mosques and shut down churches in a move aimed at curbing the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the Arab world's most populous country.
The move was preceded by the suspension of schools, universities and air traffic.
The country also shut down malls, restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs overnight as of Thursday 19 March.