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Sunday, 16 February 2020

Egypt confirms its first coronavirus case

Egypt reported its first case of a covid-19 infection on Friday as the the Health Ministry confirmed that it had placed a foreign national in quarantine. The ministry notified the World Health Organization (WHO), which said the patient was found carrying the virus, but has so far not shown any symptoms and is stable. The ministry did not specify the person’s nationality or the port of entry through which they arrive in Egypt, but Youm7 claims it was a Chinese national who landed at an airport. Another 14 passengers who were onboard the same plane have also been placed under quarantine as a preemptive measure, the newspaper says, citing ministry sources. The case is the first in Africa and makes Egypt the 28th country the virus has reached.

The Chinese embassy in Cairo issued a statement saying that China is “cooperating with the international society including Egypt with an open, transparent and responsible attitude and would like to continue to strengthen our bilateral cooperation in order to safeguard the public health of the region.” The statement did not confirm the first case in Egypt was a Chinese national.

The House Health Committee is planning to summon Minister Hala Zayed for a briefing on measures to contain the virus, the local press reports, quoting parliamentary sources.

Coronavirus sees goods stacked up in Egyptian ports amid paperwork delays, supply shortage starting to bite: The Cairo Chambers of Commerce’s customs division is calling for the release of imported Chinese goods that are being held in Egyptian ports due to a slowdown in Chinese paperwork, according to Al Masry Al Youm. These delays might drive up prices as cheap Chinese goods become less available, former general importers division member at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce told Al Monitor. Plastic and acrylic manufacturing company Rubex appears to already feel the pinch, saying in an EGX filing (pdf) they have been facing trouble importing raw materials from China and may have to turn to Europe, which will cause price increases.

Total cases worldwide now stand at >68.5k and the death toll has climbed to 1,655, only four of which are outside of China, according to a Bloomberg live tracker. The coronavirus also claimed its first victim outside of Asia after a Chinese tourist died in France yesterday, reports Bloomberg.

The arrival of the virus in Egypt is getting a lot of coverage in the foreign press: The Associated Press | France 24 | Deutsche Welle | Times of Israel | Asharq Al Awsat | Gulf News | Washington Post | Euro News | Arab News | Daily Mail

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