The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) fatalities among Egypt’s doctors has reached 60, with 454 confirmed infections so far. 

Talking to Daily News Egypt on Saturday, Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) council member Dr Ibrahim El-Zayat said a 6th year medical student is among those who have died of the virus. The student, identified as Mohamed Ashraf Al-Jamal, had been attending the Misr University for Science and Technology (MUST). 

Al-Jamal had volunteered to work at the Khanka Mental Health Hospital in Qaliubiya governorate. He contracted the virus and had self-isolated until his condition worsened, El-Zayat said, and then he was transferred to a quarantine hospital.

Dr Yousry Kamel, Deputy Director at the National Heart Institute, is another healthcare professional who contracted the virus nearly three weeks ago. He later died from coronavirus-related complications.

Dr Salem Khalil, Professor of Pathology at Zagazig University, Dr Raafat El-Kady, General Surgery Consultant in Aswan, Dr George Attia Habib, a Pediatric Consultant in Cairo, Dr Sayed Nady in Minya, and Dr Ezzat Fahmy Salib, and Anesthesia Specialist in Banha, have also died.

The EMS has, on several occasions, requested official statements from the Ministry of Health regarding deaths and infections among doctors, but received no answer, El-Zayat said.

He added that the EMS and its sub-unions in governorates across Egypt have set up teams to document infections and deaths. 

“The total number that we release is real, but it could be incomplete as there could be colleagues we have not reached,” El-Zayat said.

Last week, the EMS asked Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Minister of Health Hala Zayed to “take maximum preventive measures and the highest infection control standards at hospitals after the increase in deaths and infections among doctors.” 

The EMS has also called for a reduction in crowding in reception areas at quarantine, and fever and chest hospitals. This would be in addition to providing healthcare workers with personal protection equipment (PPE), whilst excusing elderly and pregnant medical workers from direct contact with coronavirus patients. The syndicate also asked for those healthcare professionals with chronic illnesses to also be excused.

The EMS called for reconsideration in the conditions of residences assigned to medical workers, and to ensure safe distances between beds. This move would avoid housing units turning to a source of infection among health care workers.  

Earlier in May, the Ministry of Health announced the allocation of 20 beds at each quarantine hospital across the country to healthcare sector workers. The move followed the EMS calls for medical workers to be allocated quarantine facilities in light of their frontline role in battling the coronavirus.

The ministry also announced it will expand PCR tests and other tests for medical workers.

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