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At least 6 Egypt hospitals close as the country struggles with coronavirus pandemic

Egyptian doctors stand in front of the General Hospital in Hurghada, Egypt, 14 February 2020 [Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images]
Egyptian doctors stand in front of the General Hospital in Hurghada, Egypt, 14 February 2020 [Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images]

Egypt’s Heart Institute has closed to admissions after a nurse at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19.

The institute’s Director Mohamed Osama said that a further 16 medics who came into contact with the infected nurse have all tested negative.

The move is the latest in a string of hospital closures as the country struggles to contain the widening pandemic.

Last week 17 medics at the National Cancer Institute tested positive for the virus and the hospital became the first to shut its doors. Staff had been asking management for days to close the institute down and test its staff after a number of suspected cases among workers.

Staff were told that if they took time off, they would be replaced. The hospital is now undergoing investigation for negligence.

READ: Egypt under pressure from medics to reform COVID-19 response

There are thought to be 26 cases among the institute’s doctors and nurses.

A nurse at Al-Khanka Hospital and six medical workers have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the state-run Al-Ahram.

Al-Shorouk Hospital in Giza was closed after a doctor became infected with the virus and Al-Salam Hospital in Mohandessin also closed down after it was discovered that two technicians working in the laboratory had contracted the disease.

Coronavirus is affecting the whole world, will it unite us - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Coronavirus is affecting the whole world, will it unite us? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The University of Alexandria Hospital has also been closed, as has the intensive care unit of Aswan University Hospital.

Critics have said that the number of hospitals closing down, or closing some departments, is because the government was not prepared to deal with COVID-19, including being too late to lock the country down.

READ: Egypt to ban Ramadan gatherings to counter coronavirus

Doctors have protested on social media that they are not provided sufficient protective clothing, masks or sterilisation equipment and have demanded an increase in their salaries to offset the danger they face on a daily basis.

Egypt currently has 1,560 official confirmed cases and 103 deaths, though critics and researchers believe the figures are far higher.

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