Egyptian Parliament (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Two Egyptian members of parliament were diagnosed with coronavirus on Saturday and Sunday, including Abdel-Rehim Ali, an independent MP representing Dokki, Giza, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 while on a trip to Paris.
Ali, a researcher on political Islam, left Cairo for Paris last week to attend a conference on the Libyan crisis. A statement issued by Abdel-Rehim's office on Sunday morning said he had a high fever on Saturday night and was taken to a private hospital in Paris, where he tested positive for the virus on Sunday morning.
"He is currently receiving treatment in the intensive care unit," the statement said.
Hiatham El-Hariri, a leftist MP representing Karmouz, Alexandria, has also tested positive for the coronavirus.
In a Facebook statement on Friday evening, El-Hariri said "on Wednesday morning, I had mild fever so I did some tests… On Thursday morning, I [suffered from] fatigue and headed to a fever hospital where I tested positive for COVID-19."
A total of 11 Egyptian MPs have so far been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Parliament spokesperson Salah Hasaballah told Al-Ahram Online that six of the infected MPs have been admitted to isolation hospitals.
"They have almost recovered and five of them have left the hospital," said Hassaballah, adding that "we have other three MPs who preferred home isolation and their general conditions are now stable."
Hassaballah said "the infection of 11 MPs will not stop parliament from holding its plenary sessions scheduled for next week, on Sunday 5 July."
"Despite the infections, we were able to discuss and pass the 2020/21 budget and development plan, as well as five election laws," said Hassaballah, adding that "next week, parliament will discuss new draft laws on taxes, intellectual property rights and other economic issues."
Egypt has been witnessing a steady increase in coronavirus cases, with the total infections until Saturday recording 63,923 and deaths reaching 2,708.
Starting this week, Egypt has lifted a number of restrictions in place since March, including lifting a nighttime curfew and reopening restaurants, coffee shops, and some cultural and social venues, albeit under new hygiene and safety restrictions.