Doctors Syndicate (Photo: Al-Ahram)
An Egyptian doctor died after contracting the novel coronavirus, becoming the country's eighth physician to die from the highly contagious disease, Egypt's Medical Syndicate said on Monday.
The syndicate mourned the death of Mahmoud El-Hendawy, a professor of neurological surgery at Al-Azhar University, without providing further details about his infection.
The syndicate said last week that it did not have a tally of the number of doctors who have contracted the virus and that its request to the health ministry for an update on the figure have gone unanswered.
According to a tally provided by the syndicate’s affiliates nationwide, the latest number of infected physicians as of Thursday was 90, it said, adding that the number is likely to increase.
The World Health Organization said earlier this month that infections among medical staff make up around 13 percent of confirmed coronavirus cases in Egypt.
Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in TV comments late on Sunday that only 12 percent of infected medical staff members contracted the virus while on duty at hospitals, while the rest got infected outside medical facilities.
Doctors work 14 days at hospitals and undergo 14 days of home-isolation to protect themselves and patients, he said, adding that the number of infections among medical staff in Egypt are still lower than other countries.
Earlier this week, the syndicate filed a report with the country’s public prosecutor against the head of a quarantine hospital in Alexandria for allegedly compromising the safety of doctors by violating infection control codes and refusing to conduct the coronavirus test for a doctor who came in contact with infected patients.
It also urged the health ministry to ensure the strict implementation of preventive measures to protect medical staff at isolation hospitals from getting infected with the virus.
The spokesman said rapid coronavirus tests are conducted for all medical staff at isolation hospitals, and that infection control teams are present at each isolation hospital to ensure all protective measures are followed.
The health ministry does not provide a breakdown of the number of cases in each governorate or the ages of those infected or who have died because “the data is secret and to protect the privacy of patients,” he said.
A set of financial incentives has been adopted recently for Egyptian medical staff as part of government efforts to support members of the healthcare sector amid the coronavirus crisis.
Egypt has so for recorded 6,456 infections, including 429 fatalities. Of those, 1,562 have recovered.