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The New Arab Staff

Egypt health minister under fire for attending wedding despite Covid-19 ban on gatherings

The images appeared across social media [Twitter]

Date of publication: 6 January, 2021

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Hala Zayed sparked uproar after images and video footage shared online showed her at a wedding in a crowded hall during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Egypt’s minister of health caused outrage after she was spotted attending a big wedding in the capital where precautionary measures were not imposed.

Hala Zayed sparked uproar after images and video footage shared online showed her at a wedding in a crowded hall during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the country.

While the health minister did wear a mask, many of the other attendees failed to do so. She was also ridiculed for shaking the hands of the newlyweds.

“The health minister calls for others to be aware while she is far from being aware. She should be removed immediately for attending a wedding where masks aren’t being worn and a ban on large gatherings is in place,” one Twitter used said.

The damning footage emerged just days after Egypt witnessed what many have called a “national tragedy” in which several Covid-19 patients died due to a reported lack of oxygen at a hospital.

Numerous social media users shared a video of patients in a hospital ward, with a voice heard saying "everyone is dead in intensive care”.

The 45-second video also shows hospital staff attempting to revive patients.

Cairo on said Sunday it had opened an investigation into the deaths of four Covid-19 patients in an intensive care unit.

"The prosecutor's office in Al-Husseiniya (in the northern Sharqiya province) summoned the director of Al-Husseiniya hospital to question him over the deaths of four people due to lack of oxygen," a judicial source told AFP, without specifying the dates of the deaths.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country with around 100 million inhabitants, has reported more than 140,000 cases of the Covid-19 disease, including 7,800 deaths.

Read also: Egypt bans New Year celebrations to curb rising coronavirus cases

Authorities acknowledge, however, that the real number of cases is higher, as only positive tests from health ministry labs have been reported.

After a brief lull, the number of infections rose dramatically in late 2020, from around 100 new cases confirmed per day in October, to some 1,400 daily cases currently.

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