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Egypt stops prison visits over coronavirus fears

Inmates are seen inside an Egyptian prison on 19 November 2019 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Images]
Inmates are seen inside an Egyptian prison on 19 November 2019 [MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Images]

Egyptian authorities yesterday said visits to all prisons would be suspended for ten days starting Tuesday “in the interest of public health and the safety of the inmates after an increase in the number of Coronavirus infection cases.”

“The decision to suspend prisons’ visits comes as a precautionary measure taken recently by the government in the face of the emerging Coronavirus, and based on recommendations by the health ministry,” the Egyptian interior ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that the decision would impact all prisons across the North African country.

On Monday, the Egyptian health ministry announced the first Coronavirus fatality case of a 60-year-old German citizen in the country’s Red Sea coastal city of Hurghada. The number of coronavirus cases in Egypt currently stands at 37.

First detected in Wuhan, China, in December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to more than 80 countries.

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The global death toll is nearly 3,500 and over 100,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, governments have closed borders and suspended land and air travel with the worst-hit countries.

Notably, some 52,000 patients who contracted the virus recovered.

After declaring the outbreak an international health emergency in January, last month, the WHO updated the global risk level to “very high.”

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