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The New Arab Staff

Egypt's medics demand increased protection after 50 doctors die from coronavirus

Egypt's doctors allege they have been forced to treat coronavirus patients without PPE [GEtty]

Date of publication: 10 June, 2020

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Egypt's doctors have issued a list of urgent demands for improved coronavirus precautions in hopsitals, after at least 50 medics died from Covid-19.
Egypt's largest doctors' union has written to the prime minister demanding more protection from coronavirus after it counted 50 medics to have died from Covid-19 in the country.

The Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) penned a letter to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Health Minister Hala Zayed, calling on them to increase provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and improve infection control precautions inside hospitals.

The letter comes several weeks after the union issued a scathing condemnation of the health ministry's handling of the pandemic, saying government neglect was threatening to cause "complete collapse" of the healthcare system.

The figure for medic deaths from Covid-19 is high in relation to the government's official numbers, which say 1,306 have died from 36,827 total cases.

The union's specific demands included improved separation of suspected coronavirus patients from other patients in hospital by creating separate routes and walkways, as well as increasing reception area sizes and reducing escorts and visitor numbers to one per patient to avoid overcrowding.

It also asked for police assistance to manage hopsital entrances to reduce overcrowding.

The syndicate also reiterated its previous request for high-quality PPE for all medical staff.

The union also requested for older doctors, those with underlying health conditions and those who are pregnant to not treat coronavirus patients.

Medics also said that laboratory capacity for Covid-19 tests must be increased in order to reduce the significant delays in results that the country has seen in the past week.

The country's 17 isolation hospitals reserved for coronavirus patients reached their maximum capacity at the start of May.

The death of 32-year-old doctor Walid Yehia in May, after he was unable to secure a bed in an isolation hospital, sparked outrage across Egypt, prompting many doctors to resign or strike in protest.

At least three more doctors are said to have died from the virus without receiving treatment, while other medics allege they were forced to treat Covid-19 patients without PPE.

As a result, pro-Sisi social media, as well as members of Egypt’s parliament made incendiary accusations against doctors and called on people to boycott them.

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