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Egypt health minister caught at large wedding as covid pandemic rages

Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed (R) can be seen at a wedding, contrary to government’s COVID-19 instructions, 6 January 2021 [Samo Hagras/Instagram]
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed (R) can be seen at a wedding, despite the government’s COVID-19 restrictions , 6 January 2021 [Samo Hagras/Instagram]

The Egyptian health minister is under fire again after a video of her at a wedding has gone viral.

The video was posted on Instagram by fashion designer Samo Hagras on 4 January. Whilst the exact date of the wedding is unclear, social gatherings have been restricted in Egypt for some time now due to the escalating coronavirus pandemic.

The government has banned indoor gatherings, yet in the video Hala Zayed is surrounded by a large number of guests who are not wearing masks, though she is wearing one herself.

The government has stipulated that anyone caught indoors not wearing a mask will be fined or prosecuted.

According to the US Embassy in Egypt: "All indoor weddings, funerals, festivals or other mass gatherings are cancelled indefinitely."

READ: Egypt: Entire ICU ward dies after oxygen supply fails

Egyptian Streets said it is estimated that the video was shot in the last three months as singer Tamer Hosny was there, singing a song that was not released until October 2020.

A hairdresser, who was tagged in the initial Instagram post, said that the wedding took place on 3 January.

The video has stirred even more anger at the government and specifically the health minister on social media following the death of an entire ICU ward at a hospital in Ash Sharqia Province after the level of oxygen dropped to almost below two per cent.

Zayed initially denied that there was an oxygen shortage and said that the patients died of covid complications, before being forced into a U-turn following a tsunami of criticism.

She has now admitted that there is an oxygen crisis in hospitals. The health ministry's spokesman announced that oxygen supplies will not fall below what is required for 12 operating hours in hospitals.

At the height of Egypt's first coronavirus wave, Zayed came under fire for securing medical aid for allies Italy, the UK and the US whilst the North African state was reeling from its own shortages.

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