The number of fatalities among Egypt’s doctors from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has increased to 116 cases, according to Dr Ibrahim El-Zayat, a council member at the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS).
Over 3,000 doctors have been infected with the virus so far, El-Zayat added.
Talking to Daily News Egypt on Saturday, El-Zayat said that the new fatalities include: Dr Zakaria Metwally; Dr Youssef Sayed Abdel-Khalek; Dr Essam Emarah; Dr Amjad Al-Khayyat; Dr Ismail Al-Janaini; Dr Mohamed Shalkami; Dr Mahmoud El-Batal; and Dr Amaal Megahed.
Dr Mahmoud El-Batal, who died in the Malawi Isolation Hospital, is the third fatality from coronavirus-related complications among doctors in Minya, and the second at the Maghagha Hospital.
The number of coronavirus infections among ambulance employees has also increased, with 220 becoming infected in the course of their work, according to Wael Sarhan, Head of the Egyptian Ambulance Organization Employees’ Syndicate
Talking to Daily News Egypt on Saturday, Sarhan said that a total of eight ambulance employees have now died.
He added, “A total of 90% of infections were among ambulance employees working in vehicles which have not been designated for COVID-19 cases.”
Sarhan said that the increase in coronavirus infections was due to not all ambulances being equipped and prepared with personal protection equipment (PPE).
“Only ambulances designated for COVID-19 cases are equipped with PPE and protective gear,” Sahran said. “We call for all ambulances to be prepared to protect all our employees, because they could deal with a patient who is unknowingly infected with the coronavirus.”
In the meantime, the EMS has repeated its calls for protecting Egypt’s healthcare professionals, and demanding that they be provided with the required PPE. The syndicate has also called for PCR testing to be provided for healthcare professionals, whilst also excusing elderly and pregnant medical workers from direct contact with coronavirus patients.
Last week, the EMS addressed a letter to Prosecutor General Hamada Al-Sawy to demand the release of Dr Mohamed El-Fawal, a member of Medical Syndicate in Sharqeya.
The EMS said that “the arrest of doctors for expressing their opinions over the pandemic on social media has caused widespread anxiety” among their colleagues.
The syndicate had previously called for the release of five doctors arrested after they vocally criticised the Ministry of Health’s handling of Egypt’s coronavirus outbreak.
A number of doctors have been arrested since the beginning of the outbreak in Egypt, following their vocal criticism of the state’s performance in countering the virus. Most of them have taken issue with the shortage of PPE and PCR tests available for doctors.
The Ministry of Health announced in May the allocation of 20 beds at each quarantine hospital across the country to healthcare workers who have been infected with the virus. It also said that it will expand PCR tests and other tests for medical workers.