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Egypt detainees report covid-type symptoms in 3rd cell block as virus spreads

June 5, 2020 at 11:52 am

A picture taken during a guided tour organised by Egypt’s State Information Service on February 11, 2020, shows the entrance of the Tora prison clinic in the Egyptian capital Cairo. [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Coronavirus appears to be spreading in Egypt’s Tora Prison after detainees in Cell Block 4 have now reported symptoms.

The rights organisation We Record warned at the end of May that a crisis was imminent after the virus appeared to have spread across two other blocks in the same prison.

It is difficult to confirm whether or not it is coronavirus because the authorities refuse to carry out tests on the detainees.

The source of the virus appears to be the civil servant Sayed Hijazi who regularly came into contact with prisoners, officers and the police, and who died on 29 May from the infection.

Egypt has just announced plans to relax its covid preventative measures in a bid to coexist with the virus, despite being warned that the country is not ready.

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Several mosques will open, hotels have started operating at an occupancy rate of 50 per cent and authorities have cancelled the seven-day quarantine period for Egyptian returnees.

Families have posted on social media asking for help after not being able to find hospital beds for their relatives as ICU units across the country reach maximum capacity.

Doctors have pleaded for a full lockdown as the healthcare system threatens to collapse. Last week Egypt recorded record daily infection rates for three days in a row.

Families of detainees are begging for their loved ones to be released to prevent exactly what is happening in Tora, the spread of covid in the prison cells which is inevitable due to the overcrowded cells and lack of hygiene measures.

In May eight detainees died of medical negligence, some of whom reported typical covid symptoms including respiratory distress, high temperature and persistent coughs.

Earlier this week 70-year-old Reda Abdullah died in Shibin Public Prison after his diabetes went untreated.