Egypt`s first case of COVID-19 occurred on February 14th, 2020. With the announcement of this first case, Egypt became one of the first African countries affected. Additionally, the country became part of countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic ongoing worldwide. The Egyptian health ministry reported that Egypt’s first registered coronavirus case was an Egyptian National. The Egyptian citizen was returning to Egypt from Serbia via France.
Egypt`s First Cases of Coronavirus Infections
In the statement made by the Health Ministry in March. An official added that though they say this was the first case it wasn’t the first. The country had two earlier registered cases before in foreigners. Of the two cases, one was of an Egyptian man, 44 years of age returning from France. The man did not show any symptoms upon his arrival in Egypt. Later on, after a few days, he tested positive for the virus. Their statement further stated that the man immediately went into quarantine. After his days in quarantine, the man recovered.
Findings of a Canadian Disease Specialist
The statement from the Egyptian ministry of health led some people to come to the conclusion that the country was likely dealing with a higher number of coronavirus infections than just the one. A Canadian disease specialist embarked on research to prove these claims in Egypt were right. During his research, the specialist discovered that there was an increase infection among tourists who departed in recent weeks.
Additionally, the specialist discovered that due to Egypt`s government not taking quicker emergency measures in mid-February a lot more damage was done. With Egyptian officials insisting that tourist sites remain open and business go on as usual even more, infections took place. A tourism hotspot for example known in the southern city of Luxor remained open for business due to the slow government response to the pandemic.
The Source of the Outbreak
Due to this negligence by the Egyptian Government foreign nationals saw this as a green light and booked flights to see the great wonders of Egypt. Most spent their time in Egypt on Nile cruises a major tourist activity in the southern city of Luxor. Little did this tourist know because the cruises they enjoyed were the very hotbed of the outbreak of the Virus in Egypt. Due to this news reports and public health data revealed that at least 97 foreign nationals who visited Egypt since mid-February tested positive for COVID- 19 or showed symptoms on return home.
With this information and with Egypt`s emergency measures starting late. The Egyptian people believe that despite the government saying that as of 31st March 2020 the country only has 710 confirmed coronavirus cases and 46 deaths there might be a greater number infected. The Canadian disease specialist in his report estimated there to be over 19,000 cases in Egypt amid allegations of a government cover-up.
Egypt`s effort to try and Limit the spread
But despite there being a government cover-up or not the North African country holds the number one spot in having the highest coronavirus deaths in Africa. Additionally, the country has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in Africa after South Africa. To limit spread in Egypt the President ordered a night-time curfew and schools, religious sites, universities, and tourist sites closed down.
The President additionally ordered a 14-day mandatory quarantine for Egyptians returning to Egypt from abroad. Egyptian social media users, however, were outraged and criticized the government. This outrage came after some individuals under quarantine at a five-star hotel near Cairo airport revealed that they had been told to pay hotel bills themselves.
The Sisi`s palaces
Egyptians on twitter called on their President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to offer presidential palaces to assist citizens. The palaces he built himself they asked he allow for use as quarantine centers during the coronavirus outbreak. The call came after an opposition journalist made a great big fuss. The journalist reminded the Egyptian people that the President had made the claim that he built the palaces for the people and not himself. The activist Moataz Matar stated that this is when the people of Egypt could benefit from the buildings.
Egyptians on twitter continued their ranting on social media. Tweets sent had the hashtag #قصور_السيسي_للحجر meaning “Sisi’s palaces should be used for quarantine”. The hashtag generated so much interest that it was trending at number one in Egypt. Not all Twitter users, however, wanted palaces as quarantine centers. Some saw the conversion of military hospitals into quarantine centers as a better option.
President Sisi, however, quashed all the decisions. The president announced that he would approve of a national fund for such expenses.