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First suspected coronavirus case in Egypt's Al-Qanater women's prison

According to the rights group We Record, political prisoner Abeer Najad’s health is deteriorating, as reported by her family who went to visit her on Wednesday 13 January [@WeRecordEN /Twitter]
According to the rights group We Record, political prisoner Abeer Najad’s health is deteriorating, as reported by her family who went to visit her on Wednesday 13 January [@WeRecordEN /Twitter]

The first suspected case of coronavirus has been recorded in Al-Qanater women's prison in Egypt.

According to the rights group We Record, political prisoner Abeer Najad's health is deteriorating, as reported by her family who went to visit her on Wednesday 13 January.

They said that her face was swollen, and she could only walk with their help.

Abeer has been suffering from shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell and in general has been feeling lethargic.

The doctor said that it was an infection on the lining of her lung and did not give her a coronavirus test. He prescribed her medicine which made her condition worse, including causing her face to swell.

READ: Egypt's failure to pay $128mn debt to medical manufacturers led to oxygen crisis

Abeer requested to meet the head of the prison administration, Amr Hisham, and asked him if she could be relieved for the sake of her children. In response she was transferred from the wing of political prisoners to the wing holding people pending drug trafficking cases.

Her clothes and personal items were taken away from her and her health deteriorated even further from the cigarette smoke.

According to We Record, this is the same Amr Hisham that recently attacked several female detainees along with a group of other employees and dragged them to the drug wing.

Since the start of the pandemic several Egyptian prisons have had suspected coronavirus outbreaks though authorities have tried their hardest to cover them up.

Despite displaying classic coronavirus symptoms, they have received insufficient medical care and virtually no access to testing, according to a report by Human Rights Watch published last summer.

Overcrowding in the prisons has made social distancing impossible and prisoners at higher risk are not protected.

At the beginning of this month an Egyptian security source denied allegations of a COVID-19 outbreak in prison, blaming rumours it said were spread by the Muslim Brotherhood.

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