Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met on Tuesday with representatives of the Syrian Opposition High Negotiations Committee “HNC” in Cairo, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement. According to the statement, both sides discussed ways to boost the political reconciliation process in the war-torn Country. Egypt is keen to support efforts for a political reconciliation in Syria in accordance to the UN security council resolution No.2254 that aims at the restoration of security and stability in the war-torn country and that achieves the aspirations of Syrian people. From their side, the HNC delegation expressed their appreciation of the "Egyptian balanced role to reach out for all Syrian parties and political powers in order to end the Syrian crisis as soon as possible."
Egypt’s parliament – the House of Representatives – approved on Tuesday amending two laws aiming to contain the negative economic impact of the coronavirus. The house approved amending two articles of the real estate and property tax law (196/2008) to relieve businesses of some tax burdens imposed on their affiliated lands. Maait told MPs that the legislative amendments aim to give exemptions to industries and businesses negatively affected by the precautionary measures taken to fight the coronavirus. "These amendments were approved by the cabinet and aim to relieve industries and businesses of some of the tax burdens to help them weather the economic storm of the coronavirus," said Maait. The amendment states that lands owned by industries and businesses are to be exempted from the real estate tax provided that these lands are used in industrial and production activities. The executive regulations will give the finance minister the power to estimate the value of the tax exemptions and determine how long they will be in place. "And upon a report to be submitted by the finance minister, the cabinet will decide whether industries using their affiliated lands in industrial, strategic and service activities are eligible for real estate tax exemptions," said the government report on the amended law. Parliament also approved amending the current state 2019/20 budget to earmark an EGP 10 billion allocation to help fight the coronavirus and stimulate the economy at the same time. Maait explained that due to the critical conditions imposed by the spread of the coronavirus, the government was forced to ask parliament to amend the 2019/20 budget to allocate EGP 10 billion to meet this objective. "This additional allocation aims to help the day and seasonal labourers negatively affected by the precautionary measures taken to contain the coronavirus, not to mention that it also aims to push the wheels of production in many sectors," said Maait, also explaining that "the EGP 10 billion is part of an emergency plan estimated at EGP 100 billion which was approved by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on 14 March to mitigate the economic cost of the coronavirus on Egypt." Meanwhile, parliament also approved a new seven-article government-drafted law on "financial measures necessary to contain the negative impact of the coronavirus on productive, economic and service sectors." "The law gives the cabinet the power to intervene to suspend the payment of certain taxes and other financial obligations such as social insurance or allow them to be paid in long-term instalments," said Maait. The law states that the postponement will be for a renewable three-month period, and stipulates that businesses are not to fire workers or even cut their salaries to be eligible for the postponement. Parliament also approved amendments to four articles of the income tax law (law 91/2005). Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait told MPs that the amendments aim to achieve social justice, particularly for low-income citizens and state employees. "The amendments help these brackets relieve some of the income tax burdens, and I can say that these amendments will help a low-income state employee raise his salary by EGP 2,000 a month," Maait said. Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said that although the articles of these laws have been approved by MPs, the final vote on them will be postponed to another date.
Following a 40-day suspension, Egypt’s parliament – the House of Representatives – will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss a number of legislative amendments necessary to contain the negative impact of the outbreak of the coronavirus. The amendment of the law regulating the state of emergency will feature prominently on the agenda of the discussion. According to a parliamentary report, four articles of the emergency law (162/1958) will be amended to give the president new powers necessary to handle critical health situations such as the outbreak of the coronavirus. "The powers, which were not part of the law when it was issued for the first time in 1958, include giving the president the right to suspend the school and university year and postpone the payment of taxes and electricity and water bills, etc," said the report. The amendments were approved by the legislative and constitutional affairs committee in an urgent meeting on Saturday. Parliament is also expected to renew the extension of the state of emergency for another three months, beginning on 27 April. In economic terms, parliament will discuss and vote on eight laws aiming to contain the negative financial impact of the coronavirus. The list will include a seven-article law on the financial measures necessary to contain the negative impact of the virus on the state s economic, production and service sectors. The law gives the cabinet the right to intervene to postpone the payment of certain taxes and social insurance to help businesses provided that they do not fire workers or cut their salaries. The house will also amend four articles of the income tax law 991/2005) to give new exemptions to low and limited-income brackets. The real estate and property tax law (196/2008) will be also amended to relieve businesses of some tax burdens imposed on their affiliated lands. The amendment of four articles of the current state budget 2019/20 will also be discussed to procure an allocation of EGP 10 billion necessary to mitigate the financial cost of the coronavirus and stimulate the national economy at the same time. The House will also take a vote on legislative amendments aiming to increase pensions by 80 percent, and give bonuses to state employees that will increase their salaries by 12 percent. The legislative agenda this week also includes discussing a new 113-article law drafted to regulate small, micro and medium-scale productive enterprises in order to boost their contribution to the national economy. The House will also discuss a 19-article law on regulating the performance of psychiatrists and the professionals who care for psychologically troubled patients. The House is also expected to take a final vote on two laws that were discussed in January and February. The first is a 22-artice law on Central Depository and Registration (93/2000), and the second is a new four-article law regulating the performance of deputy provincial governors. Parliament took this week a number of strict anti-coronavirus measures. MPs and parliamentary reporters will be allowed to enter the House s building only after they test negative for the coronavirus and pass through glass self-sterilisation chambers. Guests and visitors will not be allowed to enter parliament. Parliament s secretary-general Mahmoud Fawzi indicated in a statement on Sunday that parliament s decision to reconvene this week sends a message that its meetings will continue while at the same time taking the necessary anti-coronavirus precautionary measures. He revealed that the Ministry of Military Production has provided parliament with all the necessary sterilisation equipment and material necessary to prevent the infiltration of the virus. "Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal has expressed deep thanks to Minister of Military Production Mohamed Al-Assar and to his ministry for producing high-quality sterilisation equipment and material in record time," Fawzi said.
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed announced on Thursday the arrival of a shipment of medical supplies from the People s Republic of China, a gift aimed at improving cooperation to combat the novel coronavirus COVID-19. In a statement, Zayed thanked the government and people of China for the gift, emphasizing the strength of bilateral relations between the two countries. She also praised the precautionary measures taken by China to protect its citizens in accordance to the guidelines of the World Health Organization, measures that have greatly contributed to curbing the spread of the virus. Health Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Megahed said that the shipment consisted of four tons of medical supplies, including 20,000 N95 face masks, 10,000 articles of protective clothing, and 10,000 coronavirus detectors. The Chinese ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang announced that China will provide technical information to Egypt to help in tackling coronavirus, explaining that a video conference had been held wherein Chinese and Egyptian experts exchanged information regarding their experience in dealing with the virus. Liqiang said that the shipment is the first batch of aid that China will provide to Egypt, and that more aid will be sent to other countries during the next few days. Liqiang also revealed that there will be an increase in the production capacity of the Egyptian-Chinese factory currently producing face masks in Cairo, saying that the number of production lines will be increased to five. The capacity of each line is 100,000 masks per day. The increase will therefore contribute significantly to increasing the stock of preventative medical supplies in Egypt. Zayed visited the People s Republic of China on March 1, to communicate a message of solidarity from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and to deliver a shipment of medical supplies to help counter the coronavirus. This was not the first time Egypt offered solidarity to other countries amid the coronavirus outbreak. At the beginning of April, two military planes were sent to Italy with medical supplies to provide aid. Following President Sisi s directives, the Egyptian armed forces loaded two military aircraft with medical supplies, protective suits and disinfection materials. Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady said that this was in keeping with the historical bond between Egypt and Italy, with the aim of reducing the burden Italy is facing in its current crisis — especially regarding the severe shortage of medicines, medical supplies and protective tools as the coronavirus ravaged the country.
Egypt reported on Wednesday 155 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases so far to 2,505. The death toll now stands at 183, with five new fatalities registered on Wednesday, the health ministry said. The ministry also said that 39 Egyptians fully recovered and left isolation hospitals on Wednesday, which brings the total number of recoveries from the virus to 553. The number of cases who have re-tested negative for the virus, including those who have left hospital after recovering, has now reached 751, ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said. Egypt recorded on Tuesday its highest daily record of coronavirus cases, with new 160 infections. Minister of Health Hala Zayed held a periodic meeting on Wednesday with medical and administrative staff at four isolation hospitals via video conference, namely Al-Negila, Qaha, Baltim, and Malawi hospitals, to follow up on the application of updated treatment protocols and to ensure the fulfilment of necessary measures. The minister said that the 14 isolation hospitals currently operating in the country represent about half the total hospitals that were planned to be operated in the current stage. She added that there are 56 fever hospitals operating as diagnosis and referral hospitals, and 25 laboratories have been linked to the central network of labs across the country. Zayed also noted the activation of an inquiry and complaint line for medical service providers related to the coronavirus through the hotline 105 and the WhatsApp number 01048484721, which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Since the first case was discovered in Mid-February, the Egyptian government has adopted preventive measures including the closure of schools and universities and the suspension of international flights. The government also introduced a series of other sweeping measures in March to curb the spread of the virus, including imposing a nighttime curfew, banning large gatherings, shutting mosques and churches. Egypt s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly warned on Wednesday that authorities will use “utmost force” to confront attempts to breach restrictive measures against the coronavirus during next week s springtime holiday. During a meeting with governors via video conference, Mabdouly stressed the importance of the “strict implementation of all precautionary measures to prevent any gatherings" during the traditional holiday of Sham El-Nessim next Monday. Egyptians usually mark the Sham El-Nessim holiday with picnics at parks or other outdoor excursions but the celebrations this year will be subdued amid restrictive measures to limit the pandemic. The country is currently under a nighttime curfew from 8 pm to 6 am until 23 April. Under the rules, all malls and shops -- except for pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores and bakeries -- should close at 5 pm on weekdays and be completely shuttered on weekends. Restaurants are only restricted to deliveries. The cabinet had said earlier that shops and malls will be totally shut on Sham El-Nessim holiday as is the case on weekends.
Authorities have placed a Gharbiya governorate village into lockdown on Monday, after confirming that 18 residents were infected with the coronavirus. Police closed the entrances and exits to Saft Torab village in al-Mahalla al-Kubra city, with nobody allowed to leave or enter for 14 days. The head of Mahalla Hatem Zain granted all state servants in the village a leave in order to control infections – a decision which applies to those inside and outside the settlement. And the Undersecretary of the Health Ministry in Gharbiya Abdel-Nasser Hemaida dispatched a specialized medical team to check on the villagers, and test relatives of those suspected to be infected. Egypt on Monday confirmed 125 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country s number of confirmed total cases so far to 2,190. The total number of COVID-19 deaths has now reached a hundred and sixty-four nationwide. This is the second village in Mahalla to be placed under lockdown over the coronavirus outbreak. A lockdown was imposed on March 31 at al-Hayatem village, after eight people contracted the coronavirus and 22 others were suspected to be infected.
n a bid to deal with COVID-19 impacts on various aspects of Egyptians daily life based on innovation potential, Flat6Labs, a regional startup accelerator programme, has launched, through its Start Egypt Initiative, the “Corona Hackathon” under the theme of “Crisis Awareness Challenge”, announcing three winners. “Corona Hackathon” is an online competition that targeted Egyptian innovators with ideas that could help in combating the COVID-19 crisis. It is financed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank member, Commercial International Bank (CIB), and the Egyptian Red Crescent Society. Speaking to Ahram Online, Executive Director of Start Egypt Initiative Hassan Mansi said that innovations are best unleashed at times of crises. Innovations create solutions that can deal with problems, difficulties, and challenges societies face. The idea of the application is based on helping users keep a medical record, and medical prescriptions, and it provides users with online medical consultations if COVID-19 symptoms are detected, especially that Mohamed Abdallah, the app developer has lost his medical records in the wake of the COVID-19 dreadful outbreak in Italy. "COVID-19 imposes significant global challenges that require out-of-the-box solutions that can help keep individuals safe and avoid the likely negative impacts they could face in their daily lives,” Mansi added. The three challenges that “Corona Hackathon” has adopted include a safe public transport, enriching the irregular labourers, and a safe currency challenge, with a total prizes of EGP 20,000. The innovations that won the competition were OCRA-Fare Initiative, based on a smartphone application which facilitates e-payments instead of using cash in public transports, in addition to Cayshly Company that innovated a unified payment system for riders and drivers in the public transport. The third winner was IZZY-Health application, which was developed by an Egyptian businessman residing in Italy.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal announced on Sunday that parliament will meet on 29 April and that it will no longer postpone its meetings despite the threat of the coronavirus. Abdel-Aal said parliament has a busy schedule on 29 April and that it will observe social distancing protocols in line with the precautionary measures taken by the government and the health ministry to help contain the coronavirus. "MPs will not sit close to each other," Abdel-Aal said. Parliament was scheduled to meet on 29 March but it decided to postpone its sessions until 12 April, and then it decided to extend the suspension until 29 April. Abdel-Aal said parliament will discuss a number of important laws tackling real estate taxes and the treatment of epidemic diseases when it meets on 29 April. The speaker praised the efforts being exerted to fight the coronavirus and stimulate the economy, adding that parliament has allocated EGP 25 million in donations earmarked to contain the virus. "This is part of our national duty in such critical times," said Abdel-Aal.
China s Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang inaugurated Thursday a new plant for manufacturing medical face masks established in the free industrial zone in Cairo. The new plant was established with joint Egyptian-Chinese investment. It will have a total productive capacity of 1.7 million masks per day, which is expected to multiply Egypt s production of medical face masks by a factor of eight. Liqiang said the plant is a model of profound relations between Egypt and China, adding that China is supporting Egypt s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak crisis. Cabinet protocol officer Alaa Al-Shreif said the new plant was established to meet domestic market needs for medical face masks. Head of the medical supplies division at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Mohamed Ismail said the major share of plant production will be headed to the domestic market, to back state s efforts to curb the COVID-19 outbreak. He added that the Chinese side has modified the plant s final product export percentage for the sake of providing Egypt s domestic needs. “With inaugurating that plant, Egypt became the first investment destination for China amid the COVID-19 outbreak crisis, which reflects the profound relations between the two countries,” Ismail added. Meanwhile, executive director of Euromed for Medical Industries Omar Abdo said that the plant includes 10 machines with a productive capacity of 12,000 face masks per day each, adding that the plant started production officially 7 April. He added that the new plant is expected to increase Egypt s production of medical face masks to 1.7 million pieces per day. Abdo also clarified that Chinese side will provide Egypt with all supplies and materials for the new plant. China is also considering collaborating with Egypt to produce body temperature scanners and other medical sets.
Egypt s health ministry has announced that 110 new coronavirus cases have been detected and nine people have died from the virus on Wednesday. The total number of cases has now reached 1,560 and the number of fatalities is up to 103. The ministry added in a statement that 29 more patients – 27 Egyptians and two foreigners – have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals on Wednesday. The number of people whose test results have turned from positive to negative so far has reached 439, among whom 305 have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals. The newly detected cases are Egyptians, with the exception of two foreigners, and all are receiving treatment in quarantine hospitals as per the World Health Organisation s guidelines. Earlier today, Egypt extended a nationwide night-time curfew by two weeks in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus as the country s infection tally continues to rise. The country also extended other preventative measures including the closure of schools and universities and the suspension of international flight for the same period. In a televised press briefing earlier today, the prime minister said the current infection count in Egypt is in line with the government s projections, adding that "there will be increases in the number of infections in the coming two or three weeks." He also warned of the doubling of the infection rates, saying, “If the number of cases doubles, this would mean we are approaching a scenario similar to that of countries where things have gone out of control.”
On the occasion of the Celebration of the International Health Day on 7 April, The Egyptian Supreme Standing Committee for Human Rights (SSCHR) issued a report reviewing state s efforts to uphold the right to health, given the current health global crisis of the coronavirus outbreak. Ahram Online obtained a copy of the report, which, the organization says, comes within an unprecedented challenge due to the COVID-19 outbreak . The Technical Secretariat of the Supreme Standing Committee of Human Rights developed on the occasion of International Health Day a report on Egyptian efforts to uphold the right to health at the level of national legislation, policies and indicators. Recently the Committee issued a detailed and specialized report on national efforts to uphold human rights in its response to COVID-19. On constitutional framework to uphold the right to health, The current Egyptian constitution firmly upholds health and relevant rights. The Constitution initially provides for the right of every single citizen to health in Article 18 thereof, which is one of the lengthiest articles, as it details the citizen’s right to integrated health care in compliance with quality standards , the report said. The state, by virtue of the same articles, shall ensure preservation, support and capacity building of public health service facilities providing services to the people whilst ensuring the geographical distribution thereof. The State, also, shall allocate a percentage of no less than 3% of GDP for health, to be increased progressively. The constitution incriminates abstention from providing treatment to every human being in emergencies or life-threatening cases notwithstanding the form thereof , it added. According to Article 18, the state shall cover a host of other matters, including improving the financial situation of physicians, nurses, and paramedics as they are at the front line of defense against the disease. All health facilities, products and materials shall be subject to the state control as well as health related media. The state encourages the participation of the private and civil society sectors in providing health care , the SSCHR noted. The report also referred to the constitution s incrimination of any abuse of human physical inviolability or human organs trafficking or running any medical or scientific experiments on humans without their free documented consent as per the rules of medical science (Article 60). The SSCHR refered to a number of Egyptian constituion articles regulating the right to health as follows: - The Egyptian constitution addresses donation of tissues and organs and provides that the state should regulate the rules of organ donations and transplantation (Article 61). - The Constitution ensures the citizens’ right to adequate, safe and healthy housing (Article 78) as well as the right to healthy adequate food and clean water (Article 79). The Constitution enumerates health rights for children including compulsory free immunization, health care and staple nutrition, as well as the rights of children with disabilities to ensure their rehabilitation (Article 80). The State shall, by constitution, ensure the health rights of persons with disabilities and pygmies (Article 81), and to ensure the health rights of senior citizens (Article 8). As for upholding the right to health within Egypt Vision 2030: Health policies acquire special significance in strategic planning as expressed in Egypt Vision 2030 which provides for a number of targets in relation to upholding the right to health as , the report said, citing these targets as follows: Achieving better, fairer and more equitable health results to boost welfare and economic development. Achieving comprehensive health coverage for all Egyptians to secure their needs of safe quality health services as and when needed less the financial burden. Increasing investment in health while guaranteeing the optimization of available resources. Developing and bolstering public health programmes that enhance and protect health. Ensuring quality and safety of health services. Improving the health sector governance to guarantee the effective, responsible and transparent management thereof at all levels. Egypt Vision 2030 provides for a number of key performance indicators including: extension of life expectancy until seventy nine years of age; reduction of infant and under-5 mortality rates by 50%; reduction of maternity mortality rate by 60%; narrowing the remarkable gap in health results; ending all forms of malnutrition; reduction of the financial burden emanating from out-of-pocket expenditure by 24%; satisfaction of the fair and equitable accessibility by all citizens to necessary health interventions to 80%; ensuring the availability of basic medicines, and medical equipment; and boosting governmental spending on health to 5% of GDP , the report said. On Comprehensive Health Insuranceو Egypt has made remarkable strides by promulgating the comprehensive Health Insurance Law (Law 2/2018) which covers mandatory insurance of all citizens residing in the country, with the option of extending the same to cover Egyptian expats , it added. The law obligates the State to provide services of (public health, preventive services, first aid and ambulance services, family planning and other health services necessary to cover all kinds of disasters and epidemics for free as well as occupational injuries). The law shall be gradually applied to all governorates to ensure fiscal sustainability and actuarial balance. The State shall, by virtue of the law, boost the efficiency of state-owned health facilities gradually before rolling out the system. The philosophy of the new comprehensive Health Insurance system resides in the principle of mandatory coverage and social solidarity whereby the state covers the costs for the less-privileged. The system is based on the separation of finance from service provision. The General Authority for comprehensive Health Insurance is in charge of the system management and finance, whereas the Authority of Health Care provides health and curative care services within and without hospitals. The comprehensive Health Insurance Law shall be applied on 6 phases until 2023. The first phase covers (Port Said, Suez, South Sinai, Ismailia, Luxor and Aswan) with the cost of EGP1.8 billion. This is the current phase launched by HE President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi on November 26th, 2019 in Port Said Governorate as a step to lay the foundations for integrated health system covering 100% of Egyptians as per the latest international criteria. The number of beneficiaries of the first phase until March 17th, 2020 reached 2,700,000 , the report noted. On Public Spending on Health, the State budget for the fiscal year 2019/2020 shows that health expenditures total EGP 73,062 billion with an increase of EGP 11 billion compared to the last fiscal year. The report said that health spending covers hospitals and outpatient clinics, specialized hospital services, medical centres services, maternity centres, public health services, research and development in health affairs, public hospitals, university hospitals, the General Authority for Hospitals and Educational Institutes, the Pharmaceutical Control and Research Authority, the Ophthalmology Research Institute and the National Council for Addiction Control. As for treatment at the state expense, the public spending on treating less-privileged citizens at the expense of the state reached EGP 6,622 million compared to EGP5,637 million as per the balance sheet of last year with an increase of EGP985 million. The foregoing figures show that the State has doubled its expenses compared to five years ago. On Allocations for purchasing medicine and medical equipment: The allocations made during fiscal year 2019/2020 reached EGP 9,113 million, representing 12% of the budget for the purchase of goods and services , the report mentioned. Regarding the subsidization of children medicine and milk: The allocations for these items amount to EGP 1,500 million. This subsidization is the amount of cost difference borne by the state resulting from the importation and sale of insulin, children’s milk and potassium iodides for prices less than the economic cost thereof. On Health Insurance Subsidy, an amount of EGP 2,092,000,000isearmarked for health insurance programmes for the various categories as per the financial statement of the state budget for the fiscal year 2019/2020. The subsidy amount shall be distributed over 6 programmes as follows: Health insurance subsidy for students in the amount of EGP 351,000,000 allocated in the budget for 23,400,000 students, in the annual amount of EGP15 per student. Health insurance subsidy for single mothers in the amount of EGP 166,000,000 for 830,000 single mothers, in the amount of EGP 200 per single mother. Health insurance subsidy for children below school age in the amount of EGP 227,000,000 covering 15,170,000 children, in the amount of EGP 15 annually per child. Health insurance subsidy for less-privileged citizens (comprehensive Health Insurance system) in the amount of EGP 252,000,000. Health insurance subsidy for less-privileged beneficiaries of social insurance pension in the amount of one billion Egyptian pounds. Health insurance subsidy for farmers in the amount of EGP 100,000,000 covering 500,000 individuals in the amount of EGP 200 annually per capita. On National Health Indicators, the report mentioned the state efforts as follows: The number of state-owned hospitals increased from 643 in 2011 to 691 in 2018. Meanwhile the number of private hospitals increased from 926 in 2011 to 1157 in 2018. This increase is nationwide to ensure access by all citizens to health care. The number of insured citizens increased from 50,194,000 in 2014 to 55,581,000 in 2018. The number of patients treated at the state expense: The number of patients treated at the state expense domestically and abroad increased to 2,632,000 in 2018 with a cost of EGP 8.4 billion. Certain measures are taken to ensure speedy curative service provision at the state expense thus shrinking the period lapsing between application and decision issuance to 48 hours in cases of emergency and 72 hours for other cases. Number of ambulances: The number of ambulances increased in 2018 to 2912 and the number of emergency centers increased to 1464. The number of university hospitals increased by 2.3% in 2018 compared to 2017 by 89 hospitals. Physicians numbers increased in 2018 to become 126,197, whereas the number of nurses reached 217,105. Blood transfusion services are developed to reach 24 centres in all governorates. The foregoing assets and resources are deployed nationwide to ensure inclusive service provision covering, inter alia, rural and urban areas, males and females, and low-income brackets. Mandatory routine vaccination: 2.6 million children receive mandatory routine vaccines annually with coverage exceeding 96%. Egypt managed to eradicate certain diseases as the WHO announced Egypt’s success in completely eradicating polio as no new cases have been detected since 2003. 40 million vaccinations are administered annually against polio, rubella and mumps. A program was developed to support natural breast feeding during the first six months to ensure safe nutrition for infants. A mandatory test is run for would-be spouses to ensure the absence of any diseases. Would-be spouse test offices totaled 481 nationwide in 2018. Reduction in under-5 mortality rate: Intensive governmental efforts led to a decrease in child mortality rate under age 5 from 42.1 thousand in 2015 to 36.7 thousand in 2018. The number of under 5 mortalities decreased from 20.3 thousand in 2015 to 20 thousand in 2018. Universal mortality rate fell from 8.6% in 2006 to 3.2% in 2018. Health education: Within the context of health awareness and education, outreach initiatives are developed to educate people on pregnancy and follow-up with specialized doctors. Eventually, the number of births supervised by skilled specialists increased from 80.7% in 2007 to 92.7% in 2011. A health education campaign was launched targeting medical cadres, local leaders, and the populace especially in areas with high rates of endemic diseases. The civil society is active in the area of health outreach. The number of notarized NGOs in 2019 reached 211 in Greater Cairo. The National Campaign for the Eradication of Hepatitis C Virus and Early Detection of Non-Communicable Diseases: In September 2018 President Al-Sisi launched an initiative to eradicate Hepatitis C and early detection of non-communicable diseases under the slogan “100 million health”. Under this initiative all state sectors, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Population, should provide full support to that initiative for the early detection of Hepatitis C and non-communicable diseases. The initiative was administered on three successive phases for 7 months starting October 1st, 2018 until end of April 2019 nationwide in all twenty seven governorates. 56 million citizens were tested in the context of that initiative, detecting 2,200,000 positive cases. Hepatitis C treatment was disbursed to 900,000 citizens. The total cost of the 100 million health initiative reached USD 260,000,000, 130,000,000 treatments and 130,000,000 tests. The WHO, and its representative in Egypt, has repeatedly commended the efforts of the Egyptian state in addressing Hepatitis C thanks to political commitment at the highest level in the state to control the disease. The WHO also stressed that it will continue to provide the support necessary to reach the desired goals. Screening and Treating Refugees and Foreigners “Egypt’s Guests”: Egypt launched a new phase officially on May 1st, 2019 until September 30th, 2019 in the context of the 100 Million Health Initiative (however the same was actually extended until August 31st, 2019). The new phase screens and treats foreigners and refugees from Hepatitis C. This presidential initiative targets screening children arrivals under 12 years until 18 years and adults over 18 years old. Screening is administered in 309 screening points nationwide. 67,498 refugees and foreign residents were examined and positive cases were treated gratuitously. The first refugee who tested positive for hepatitis C received free treatment one week after test commencement. Almost 182 positive cases received free treatment after the first incident. In this context, the UN High Commission for Refugees and the WHO commended the new phase of the 100 Million Health Initiative covering all foreign residents in Egypt, which speaks to the leading role of Egypt in serving humanity. Egyptian Women are the Health of Egypt Initiative for early detection of breast cancer: 115,000 women were tested until July 2019. The initiative targets 30 million women. 100 Million Health Initiative for early detection of anemia, stunting, obesity and malnutrition of school students which targets 11.5 million students in 22,000 schools. Control of Harmful Traditional Practices (including FGM): The National Committee Against FGM is established in 2019 and is co-headed by the National Council for Women and the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood to synergize efforts to eradicate FGM. The State has, in collaboration with the civil society, launched several initiatives including the initiatives of “White Coat” and “Let’s Protect Her” to educate on the gravity of FGM and its health adverse effects. Law 78/2016 was enacted to amend the Penal Code whereby FGM is considered felony and even attempted FGM is punishable, and no reconciliation or settlement may be reached in this case in particular. In case the FGM process is completed and causes the death or permanent disability of the victim penalty shall be aggravated. The National Strategy Against FGM (2016-2020) aims to decrease FGM rates by enforcing relevant laws and ministerial decisions to prevent the same and punish practitioners. The strategy also aims to enforce relevant legislation and educate society on the risks involved in FGM and that it is religiously groundless, in addition to tightening control and aggravating penalty for doctors who engage in FGM. Control of Drugs, Psychotropics, smoking and harmful material: A Fund is established for the treatment and control of addiction and drug-use pursuant to thePresidential Decision 46/1991. The Fund made several initiatives for education on risks of substance abuseand the social integration of cured cases such as “Life is Rosier without Smoking” to educate children on the adverse effects of smoking and “Don’t Try” Initiative to educate summer vacationists and beach-goers in coastal governorates on the gravity of addiction; as well as “Egypt free of addiction” Initiative to help addicts get rid of substance abuse impacts as well as “Listen to Me” Initiative raising awareness about the harmful effects of smoking and substance-use and to rectify misconceptions about substance abuse. In this context awareness raising programmes are developed on the dangers of substance abuse in 8500 schools targeting 1.5 million students with a 50% increase compared to last year. 66 training camps are provided for students targeting 2500 volunteers. Outreach is developed for factory workers under the slogan “Make no Mistake” targeting 7500 workers. Moreover, 200 awareness initiatives are organized for drivers under the slogan “Have a safe trip” in 22 governorates for 20,000 drivers, whereby it becomes obligatory for drivers to take the drug tests as a sine-quo-none for license issuance and renewal. 34 workshops are held at corrective institutions and 60 preventive theatre shows are presented in most vulnerable locations such as “Al-Asmarat, GheitelEnab, and Al-Mahrousa” and in main squares and arenas. The Friday mass service speech is standardized in coordination with the Ministry of Awqaf to educate people on the dangers of drugs in addition to the information campaign “You are stronger than drugs” which reached 40,000,000 views in two months.
A number of Egyptian businessmen have submitted to the finance ministry several proposals on how to lessen the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy, Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said. Maait said in a statement on Monday that the proposals are under consideration, adding that some of these proposals would require legislative amendments, and so the ministry will submit them to the Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. The proposals were made during a video conference between Maait and a number of Egyptian businessmen, including the chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Industries and the head of the Egyptian Businessmen s Association. The proposals include postponing tax return submissions for enterprises by two months and suspending real estate taxes for factories, Maait said, adding that the ministry has already prepared a number of amendments to the real estate tax law, which are now being discussed in parliament. Maait also exempted export companies from providing the tax position certificate required for the disbursal of their dues from government bodies and the Export Development Fund until June, and exporters dues will be disbursed over three tranches of up to EGP 5 million.
Egyptians have spent less time in shopping, recreation and transportation in March 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak, adopting social distancing guidelines, according to Google’s COVID-19 Mobility Changes report. Google released late March its special coronavirus report showing how people around the globe responded to the coronavirus outbreak based on statistics from Google Maps around the globe. According to figures released by Google, Egyptians spent 50 percent less time in places like malls and restaurants in March than in February. Egyptians spent also 52 percent less time in transit stations like metro stations, bus stations and train stations in March than in February. In mid-March, the Egyptian government imposed a partial curfew from 7pm to 6am. It also closed public parks and museums as well as other recreational sites where the public gathered. Egyptians spent 35 percent less time in their work in March compared to February, while they spent 25 percent less time in groceries in March than in February. They also spent 40 percent less time in parks in March than in February. Google stated that Egyptians spent 15 percent more time in their homes in March than in February. According to the latest numbers released by the Egypt’s Ministry of Health, total coronavirus cases in the country has reached 1,070, including 71 dead.
The number of coronavirus cases in Egypt has increased to 850 on Thursday; however, the daily increase rate is “not alarming,” Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised statement. Compared to the Egyptian population of 100 million people, the number of cases is not high, and Egypt is still in the middle phase of the outbreak and has not reached the dangerous, third phase, Madbouly said. The average daily infection rate was between 30 and 40 cases last week, and this week it has been between 50 and 60, the prime minister said. It is expected that it will range from 60 to 70 cases a day next week. According to the prime minister, these rates are not alarming as Egypt is still seeing a natural gradual curve in the spread of the virus. “What [would be] alarming [would be] the registration of hundreds of cases daily. We do not want to reach this stage,” Madbouly said. The prime minister urged people not to underestimate the situation and to commit to the precautionary measures in place. Madbouly also said that the capabilities of the health ministry exceeds the requirements of the current number of cases. The health ministry has been coordinating its efforts with university hospitals and making a plan to start integrating some of them to help in the fight against the coronavirus. The aim of the government, according to Madbouly, is to have a comprehensive health system that encompasses all governorates and provides needed medical services to Egyptian citizens. The government is looking into providing workplaces like factories and construction sites, among others, with up to 1,000 vehicles that can function as clinics, in an initiative from Health Minister Hala Zayed, the prime minister said. Mobile clinics can provide workers with necessary medical services and help in taking the necessary rapid measures if any coronavirus cases are detected. Madbouly also addressed the efforts exerted by the state to repatriate Egyptians stranded abroad by flight suspensions. The premier said that there the government will temporarily stop returning citizens from abroad after already expatriating those who were stranded. “A stranded person is someone who had to leave Egypt either for a work mission, training course, for medical treatment or for tourism,” the prime minister said. “These are the kinds of people who are considered stuck, as they don t have residence in the country they are in and they have to return to Egypt,” he added. Madbouly said that, at first, the government performed medical check-ups and tests on returnees at airports and asked them to self-isolate for 14 days. The government discovered, however, that many people have not been committing to self-isolation, and that led to an outbreak in some areas. Since people were not committed, the government has decided to put returnees from abroad in compulsory quarantine in hotels at state expense.
Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in the Nile Delta city of Al-Mahalla resumed operations on Wednesday with reduced workforce, after a 10-day hiatus over coronavirus fears, a circular by the company said. The company, Egypt’s largest textile factory, had put its staff on furlough from March 23 and asked them to go on self-isolation at home after the detection of some coronavirus cases in the city. In a circular dated Tuesday, the state company said work will resume with morning shifts only until mid-April. Workers with chronic diseases, those residing in other govenorates and pregnant women are also furloughed. All cafeterias at the company were ordered to close and all offices and restrooms are to be sanitized. Established in 1927, the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, is the largest in Africa and the Middle East with over 16,500 workers, the company’s website said. It is affiliated to the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving, which belongs to the Ministry of Public Business Sector. While resuming work, the company is granting exceptional paid leave to workers from the Al-Hayatem village, where several coronavirus cases have been detected and hundreds have been isolated. The company s Chairman Ashraf Ezzat called on the workers to exercise caution in all their daily dealings in order to avoid infection with the coronavirus, the circular said. Egypt has registerd a total of 710 coronavirus cases and 46 deaths.
The Egyptian Medical Syndicate has said a newly announced rise in monthly allowances granted to doctors and other medical staff is insufficient. Earlier this week, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ordered a 75% increase in monthly allowances given to medical professionals at a total cost of EGP 2.25 billion, as part of government efforts to support members of the healthcare sector amid the coronavirus crisis. Under a 2014 law issued under El-Sisi, a monthly allowance of between EGP 400 ($25.5) and 700 ($44.5) is offered to physicians, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, physiotherapists, nursing staff, chemists, physicists, and medical technicians. This new rise means the allowance will now range between EGP 700 and 1,225: EGP 1,225 for physicians, EGP 875 for dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians and physiotherapists, EGP 787 for nursing staff, chemists and physicists, and EGP 700 for medical technicians. “The value of the monthly increase (after deductions) will be only about 400 Egyptian pounds, which is not commensurate with the efforts and sacrifices made by doctors, unless these increases are part of several forthcoming measures to improve doctors’ conditions,” the syndicate said in a statement on Monday. An estimated 60,000 Egyptians doctors work at the health ministry’s institutions, with salaries ranging from EGP 3,000 ($190) to 10,000 ($635), according to health ministry officials. El-Sisi has also ordered the creation of a risk fund for medical staff, a move welcomed by the union which suggested allocating part of the money for “disaster damages” and another for "supplemental" pensions for all doctors. He also ordered an exceptional bonus be awarded to all staff working at coronavirus isolation hospitals and other hospitals and central laboratories conducting tests for the deadly virus. Egypt has recorded 656 coronavirus cases, including 41 fatalities since the first case was registered in mid-February. The syndicate also called on the president to urge the parliament to issue a law for "fair" infection compensation that is in line with “the hazard doctors are exposed to”, a long-standing demand by Egyptian physicians. Since 1995, medical staff in Egypt have been receiving a meagre EGP 19 to EGP 30 in monthly infectious disease allowance, according to the Doctors Syndicate. Ehab Taher, a syndicate board member, told Ahram Online that a draft law to increase the infection allowance had been sent to the parliament over two years ago but it has yet to take any action. He says the law has not even been discussed by the parliament’s health committee. "All we need to is to raise the compensation to a minimum EGP 1500-3000 based on the level of infection exposure of every medical profession," he said. The syndicate also called on the parliament to pass a law on medical liability and hospital protection law. “Doctors are committed to performing their duty in all cases for nothing in return during these critical conditions the country is going through and will continue to…sacrifice to ward off the epidemic,” the syndicate said.
Egypt reported on Monday 47 new coronavirus cases and one more death, said health minister Hala Zayed. The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 656, with the total death toll rising to 41. So far 132 cases have fully recovered and left isolation hospitals, Zayed said during a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. She added that the total number of cases whose test results have turned from positive to negative has reached 182. Zayed stated there are currently 26 laboratories across governorates to conduct PCR tests, and that there will be more in the next 48 hours. Zayed briefed Madbouly on the geographical distribution of the cases, and on the tracking and investigation work of the ministry s teams. They also discussed the availability of various medical supplies at the ministry s hospitals. Egypt s health ministry spokesperson Khaled Meghad said on Saturday that some villages have been isolated in 10 governorates in a bid to stop any possible spread of coronavirus. Zayed said on Friday that Egypt has a sufficient number of IC beds and ventilators and is being supplied with more. She told MBC Masr satellite channel over the phone that Egypt has a purchase plan to make protective gear available despite the global shortage. Egypt has already halted international flights, banned mass gatherings, shuttered cinemas, mosques and churches, and suspended communal prayers in an effort to slow the spread of the virus that claimed the lives of thousands of people around the world. A nationwide curfew is also in effect daily from 7 pm to 6 am until 7 April.
Egypt s health ministry spokesperson Khaled Meghad revealed Saturday that some villages have been isolated in 10 governorates in a bid to stop any possible spread of coronavirus. In a telephone call Saturday evening to news night talk show “My responsibility” on Sada El-Balad TV channel, Meghad told TV host Ahmed Moussa that the isolation of those villages was a precautionary measure. “The Ministry of Health isolates the villages after discovering coronavirus cases there, so [the villages] won t turn into a virus epicentre and spread it to other villages in the area, or the rest of the governorates,” he said. Meghad explained the isolation of villages included the closure of all roads leading to the village as well as banning any sort of interaction between villagers and outsiders for 14 days to stop any spread of Covid-19. “This procedure was followed in several governorates and achieved very positive results,” he said, adding that the 10 governorates include Red Sea, Al-Minya, Mounfia and Port Said. On Saturday, Egypt s health ministry announced that the total number of coronavirus patients jumped in to 576 after it registered officially 40 new Covid-19 cases in the country with 121 fully recovered patients and 36 fatalities.
Saudi Arabia will extend visas for Egyptian nationals stranded in the kingdom due to a suspension of flights to and from both countries amid the coronavirus outbreak, Egypt s foreign ministry said. Visas for visitors will be extended online for the same duration originally granted, the ministry said in a statement Wednesday. Umra pilgrims whose visas expired will also be allowed to apply for an extension, by 28 March, to be exempted from fines or any ensuing legal effects, it added. Earlier, the Gulf country notified visitors of all nationalities whose visas were about to expire that they can extend their stay online for up to 180 days, after paying certain fees. Egypt has 456 confirmed coronavirus cases and 21 deaths, while the Gulf kingdom registered 900 infections and two deaths.
The vast majority of coronavirus cases detected in Egypt were in direct contact with affected people, Egypt s health ministry spokesman said. “More than 90 percent of the newly discovered coronavirus cases in Egypt had come into contact with previously detected cases,” Khaled Megahed said in TV comments late Tuesday, stressing that exercising caution and avoiding gatherings and social interaction is key to combating the spread of the virus. Megahed s comments to a talk show on Sada El-Balad TV Channel came after the Egyptian government declared a nighttime curfew from 7pm to 6am for two weeks starting Wednesday, as part of broad measures to curb the deadly virus. Egypt has 402 confirmed coronavirus cases in 24 of the country s 27 governorates, including 20 fatalities, according to the health ministry. Of the total, 80 people have so far recovered. Megahed said Egypt is currently working on increasing the number of hospitals earmarked for coronavirus patients. The country currently has five isolation hospitalsn in Marsa Matrouh, Luxor, Ismailia, Alexandria and Daqahliya. "We are currently working on preparing more hospitals equipped with intensive care equipment and medical teams to be used when needed," Megahed said. Separately, Megahed was quoted in local media as saying that five additional hospitals have been earmarked for coronavirus cases, including two in Cairo s Agouza and 15th of May districts. Hospitals across the country are equipped with the supplies and facilities necessary for tackling the outbreak, the spokesman said. “We lacked some equipment at the beginning, but we have recently signed supply orders to cover our needs," he said. Egypt has taken a raft of measures to curb the spread of the respiratory disease, including suspending international flights, shutting down schools, universities, mosques and churches, halting all entertainment activities, and reducing the number of government employees going to work.
Egypt s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has instructed the government to take additional precautionary measure to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The president said in a tweet that he has tasked the government with implementing additional precautionary measures to ensure the safety of Egyptians without affecting their necessary daily needs. President El-Sisi emphasised that he has confidence that the Egyptian people will respond to these measures in a manner that preserves the country s security and safety. Egypt has been implementing increasingly strict measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country, including suspending air traffic, reducing the number of public sector employees working at state institutions, and shutting schools, universities, mosques and churches. Egypt has so far registered 366 coronavirus cases, including 19 fatalities.
The Church of St. Mark in Alexandria is the oldest church in Egypt and Africa, dating back to the first century. It was built at the place of the house of St. Anianus who was the first to believe in Christ by St. Mark s preaching. It also contains about 55 of the first patriarchs of the Coptic Church. Father Abram Emil, Priest of St. Mark s Cathedral in Alexandria explained in his article The Church of St. Mark