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Egypt family attempt to steal body from hospital

Members of the medical staff at the infectious diseases unit of the Imbaba hospital in the capital Cairo, gather for a break on 19 April,2020 [AHMED HASAN/AFP via Getty Images]
Members of the medical staff at the infectious diseases unit of the Imbaba hospital in the capital Cairo on 19 April, 2020 [AHMED HASAN/AFP via Getty Images]

A video is circulating online of an Egyptian family attempting to remove the body of a family member who died of COVID-19 from a hospital.

In the video a group of people can be seen wheeling the body through the street, into a car park and onto the back of a truck before the police arrive and stop them.

It has been reported that they wanted to bury her quickly according to Islamic tradition.

Across the Middle East governments have placed restrictions on burying the dead in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the virus. This, coupled with various lockdowns and curfews, means that it is not always possible to bury the dead as quickly as custom stipulates.

READ: Young Egyptian who posts video recounting rape arrested by security forces

In Egypt limits have been put on the number of people who can attend funerals whereas traditionally they are a ceremony in which dozens of families come together and pray.

Police often watch over making sure groups of people don't congregate.

No one is permitted to attend the washing rite besides health workers dressed in PPE who must do it one metre away from the body, reports Associated Press, despite the fact that this is usually done by family members.

In April Egyptian police fired tear gas at villagers in an area near the Nile Delta where they had gathered to block an ambulance and the subsequent burial of a doctor who had died of coronavirus for fear the body would spread the virus among them.

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta has said that anyone dying from coronavirus should be given full burial rites.

READ: Egypt: Doctors resign en masse after death of colleague who wasn't tested

At the time Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed told MBC Masr that bodies are washed and placed in a sealed body bag so they do not infect others.

Bodies are not contagious "if all preventative measures are applied," added Megahed.

After this, Health Minister Hala Zayed instructed state-run ambulances to transport bodies of people who died of coronavirus after funeral hearses refused to carry the dead.

On Sunday another video circulated, this time showing an Egyptian sheikh running away from police during Eid prayers, which he was leading.

Under measures put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, authorities have closed mosques and churches and banned group prayers.

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