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25 coronavirus suspects on Egyptian Nile cruise boat test negative Open in fullscreen

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25 coronavirus suspects on Egyptian Nile cruise boat test negative

The former cruise passengers will have to remain under quarantine [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 March, 2020

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Egypt's health ministry said the total number of known cases in the county had risen to 59, including three more nationals and a foreign woman.
Egyptian authorities on Tuesday announced that 25 people aboard a Nile River cruise who initially tested positive for COVID-19 have sinced tested negative.

A total of 26 people had "changed from positive to negative" for the novel coronavirus, including "25 who had been on the A Sara boat", Health Minister Hala Zayed told reporters.

They are still required to complete a period under quarantine prior to leaving the hospital, where they are currently staying, she added, without specifying when it would end.

On Monday night, Egypt's health ministry said the total number of known cases in the county had risen to 59, including three more Egyptian nationals and a foreign woman.

Authorities had on Saturday reported moving 45 suspected cases - 33 passengers and 12 crew - from the stricken cruise boat into isolation at Marsa Matrouh, a resort town on the Mediterranean coast.

The scores of others who remained on the boat, including American, French and Indian travellers and Egyptian crew, had been quarantined on board, passengers told AFP.

AFP reporters on Tuesday saw passengers milling about on the top deck of the boat, docked on the Nile at Luxor.

Zayed noted that her ministry had taken "random samples" of tourists and staff at all of Luxor and Aswan's hotels. The tests administered came back with "100 percent" negative results.

Tourism minister Khaled El-Enany said there had been "a decline in tourism globally including in Egypt but our rates aren't as severe as other countries."

Speaking alongside Zayed in Cairo, he noted that his ministry had focused its efforts on Luxor and Aswan "because the sole [virus] problem we have is on a Nile cruise boat travelling to southern Egypt".

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