Fifteen medical staff at Egypt’s National Cancer Institute coronavirus carriers

Cairo University spokesperson Mahmoud Alam-Eddin announced Friday that 15 suspected coronavirus cases were discovered among medical staff at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

“The university is now sterilizing and disinfecting all its hospitals on Friday and Saturday. The suspected cases were transferred to isolation hospitals of the Health Ministry,” Alam-Eddin said.

The university will have to make important decisions in the coming hours regarding precautionary measures, he added, such as reducing the number of patients they can receive.

The NCI’s director Hatem Abul Kassem said that this issue began a week ago, when a nurse with symptoms tested positive and was isolated.

During a Friday phone-call with TV host Amr Adib’s show al-Hekaya (The Story), Kassem said that five people in direct contact with the nurse have been isolated, with two of them testing positive.

He detailed how on Sunday, “Symptoms appeared on a supervising nurse and we performed an analysis and discovered that they were positive, so we isolated the entire crew of about 40 people and found nine of them to be infected – thus the total number of infected is three doctors and twelve nursing staff.”

Kassem said that the institute was sterilized on Thursday and Friday and will be sterilized again on Saturday.

The number of inpatients was reduced to 60 with a plan worked out for the coming days, he added.

Though the NCI will not shut down, he said it will be unable to receive outpatients on Saturday.

Health workers are present and have been tested, he added.

The 26-year-old nurse blamed for causing 14 of the coronavirus infections at the NCI claimed he was not the institute’s “patient zero.”

Speaking to Al-Masry Al-Youm, he said he was infected while nursing a girl with a tumor on March 21. After going to management, he said they turned down testing him or those he contacted as it was “very expensive.”

The nurse is now isolated at the Helwan Fever Hospital.

Egypt on Friday confirmed eight additional deaths and 120 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s number of confirmed total cases so far to 985. Sixty-six people have died from the virus in Egypt.

The head of the Egyptian Cabinet’s Crisis Management Chamber Mohamed Abdel Maksoud anticipates that Egypt will enter the third stage of coronavirus transmission soon after hitting 1,000 cases.

Once it hits 1,000 infections and Egypt enters into stage three, infection rates will skyrocket compared to now. Worse still, infection sources will become untraceable to diagnosed cases.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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