Egypt’s Health Minister in China to show solidarity in fighting against COVID-19

Mohammed El-Said
5 Min Read

Egypt’s Minister of Health Hala Zayed travelled to China on Sunday upon instructions by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to deliver a message of solidarity to the Chinese government and people in their COVID-19 epidemic as well as enhancing cooperation to counter the virus outbreak.

It came during a press conference held at Cairo Airport after her meeting with President Al-Sisi and Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly over the issue.

The meeting tackled the recent updates over the COVID-19 and the ministry of health’s contingency plan to deal with it locally. 

Al-Sisi ordered to take strict measures and increase Egypt’s readiness according to the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), to coordinate with all related state bodies and to continue the awareness campaigns as well as tightening health control over the country’s ports. 

During the meeting, Zayed asserted that Egypt is one of the first countries to prepare a plan of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and she reviewed all expected scenarios for its potential spread. Earlier on Saturday, Zayed said that the Health Ministry is not hiding any information away from the public about COVID-19 cases in Egypt, but added that the COVID-19, is expected to come to Egypt “but we are ready for all scenarios.” 

In televised statements to private MBC Masr TV station, Zayed noted that no country can prevent the spread of COVID-19, even the most developed ones, but countries with strong health systems can deal with cases. 

“We are ready for all scenarios and the Egyptian health system is very effective. We receive dozens of calls on our hotline everyday about suspected cases, and we deal with it by taking samples, analysing them, and send the result and the sample itself to the World Health Organization,” Zayed explained.  

The minister pointed out that only 15% of confirmed cases need to go to hospitals and receive medical treatment. 

Regarding reports about infected cases in France, Taiwan, and Canada coming from Egypt, Zayed said that “since the ministry received the WHO’s notification regarding the cases of Canadian and French tourists, we were sure that Egypt is not the source of the infection.” 

Despite this, the ministry is communicating with the concerned countries regarding the cases. 

Four countries have reported cases of COVID-19 coming from Egypt. On Friday, France announced discovering six cases of coronavirus recently from nationals returning from Egypt as part of a tour group. Just a few hours following the French announcement, Canada said it also recorded a case coming from Egypt. 

On Saturday, Taiwan health authorities announced also discovering a new infected case coming from Egypt. China itself has reported a month ago a case who was on a visit to Egypt. 

The outbreak emerged in the Chinese province of Hubei in December 2019. The COVID-19 has killed 2,979 globally, infecting 86,986 people with 42,576 cases having recovered. 

Meanwhile, researchers have designed compounds that block the replication of similar coronaviruses, as well as other disease-causing viruses, in the lab, according to a recent paper published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The compounds have not yet been tested on people.


Also, in the context of scientific research, Moderna, Inc. said it was busy in the clinical stage of anti-virus mRNA-1273 the company’s vaccine against the novel coronavirus, for human use.

The proposed vaccine is a Ribonucleic acid-mRNA against the COVID-19 encoding for a perfusion stabilised form of the Spike (S) protein, which was selected by Moderna in collaboration with investigators at the Vaccine Research Centre (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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Mohammed El-Said is the Science Editor for the Daily News Egypt with over 8 years of experience as a journalist. His work appeared in the Science Magazine, Nature Middle East, Scientific American Arabic Edition, SciDev and other regional and international media outlets. El-Said graduated with a bachelor's degree and MSc in Human Geography, and he is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Cairo University. He also had a diploma in media translation from the American University in Cairo.