The Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Administration announced on Sunday new safety measures for healthcare workers. The extended measures come amid the increasing numbers of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections among medical staff.
These new measures include allocating new passageways in hospitals for suspected cases of respiratory diseases. Other measures include conducting a daily test for hospital staff before signing the attendance sheet, and ensuring the availability of the needed personal preventive equipment (PPE).
The administration has also decided not to allow any healthcare providers to deal with patients without the PPE. A dedicated staff worker from the infection control team will be overseeing implementing these measures.
A legal investigation will be taken against any healthcare worker sent for home-isolation but found violating the order and working in a private facility during the isolation period.
The measures came following after more than 30 healthcare workers at the Egyptian National Cancer Institute (NCI) were sent to quarantine hospitals following testing positive for the coronavirus. The case drew attention to safety measures at work for healthcare workers, particularly as the spread of the virus is speeding up.
Hatem Abou El-Kassem, the NCI’s Director, said in televised statements on 3 April that the source of the institute’s infections was a member of the nursing staff who transmitted the virus to others. He added that they have lowered the number of patients at the hospital to 60, with those present representing only the most urgent cases. The move was made for the hospital’s disinfection and sterilisation, with all staff also being tested for the virus.
Hagar Ashmawy a Clinical Pharmacist at the NCI, denied Abo El-Kassem’s statements on staff testing. In a 3 April Facebook post, Ashmawy said that pharmacists at the institute called on the director to close and sterilise the institute following discovery of the first case, over a week ago, but Abo El-Kassem refused.