A military aircraft of medical supplies sent from Egypt to the US to help with its coronavirus pandemic is set to arrive in Dulles International Airport today.
A US official has said that the gesture was supposed to show support for President Trump and the US-Egypt alliance, reported the Washington Post.
The decision to send anaesthesia drugs, antibiotics, body bags, masks and testing swabs is likely to draw criticism since for several weeks Egyptians have been asking why their country is giving away PPE and other medical aid when there are severe shortages at home.
Egyptian doctors have asked that missions be sent to hospitals where they are working to check the correct preventative measures are being put in place. The price of masks has soared and some doctors have had to buy them out of their own pocket.
Several hospitals across the country have closed their doors after outbreaks of the virus among the staff. The World Health Organisation says that 13 per cent of medics in Egypt are infected, which means they are highly vulnerable.
In what has become known as medical mask diplomacy, the supplies are likely to be a softener since US lawmakers are looking to cut hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid to Egypt after the first US citizen, Mustafa Kassem, died in an Egyptian jail in January after being denied medical care.
Trump has turned a blind eye to continual human rights abuses carried out by the Sisi regime, at one point calling the general his “favourite dictator,” however is under pressure from human rights organisations to leverage his relationship with Egypt on the rule of law.
Mike Evans, a Texas writer and Trump advisor who has met Sisi, called the shipments “humanitarian aid to the countries Sisi most respects,” reported the Washington Post.
Egypt is showing its gratitude for the support it has received since President Trump was elected to office
Egypt Today has reported that the COVID-19 death rate in Egypt is above seven per cent whilst in the US it’s around five per cent. The US is one of the richest countries in the world, whilst in Egypt one in three people live in poverty.
Egypt recently sent two planeloads of masks, protective suits, detergents and sanitisers to Italy, which experts say is to try and bury the Giulio Regeni case and encourage Italy to continue trading, including in arms.
Egypt’s controversial Health Minister Hala Zayed delivered the medical equipment personally, live streaming the handover on Facebook.
The Egyptian government also sent medical gowns to the UK, its largest foreign investor. The UK has continually pushed for trade with Egypt, no matter how much evidence of human rights abuses is presented to them, and in return strike highly favourable deals.
Zayed has also personally delivered medical equipment to Beijing, which it needs to keep on side as a potential mediator in the Renaissance Dam negotiations.
China is Egypt’s largest trading partner.