Coronavirus: Egypt medical union issues warning over health system

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Egypt's top medical union on Monday warned the country's health system was in danger, accusing the health ministry of negligence in failing to protect healthcare workers from coronavirus.

"The syndicate is warning that the health system could completely collapse, leading to a catastrophe affecting the entire country if the health ministry's negligence and lack of action towards medical staff is not rectified," the Egyptian Medical Syndicate said in a statement.

Covid-19 has killed 19 doctors and infected more than 350, according to the EMS, a body representing thousands of Egyptian doctors.

"The EMS holds the health ministry entirely responsible for the mounting deaths and infections among doctors due to its negligence... that is tantamount to death through a dereliction of duty," it added.

A deserted motorway in the Saudi capital Riyadh. AFP

The courtyard and surrounding roads of the closed Grand Camlica Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. Getty Images

A deserted beach in Egypt's northern Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria. AFP

Algerian police officers block the access in central Algiers. Algeria's government announced earlier this week it is reinforcing curfew restrictions imposed nationwide to limit the spread of the coronavirus. AP Photo

A family takes a selfie in a deserted square of Algiers. AP Photo

A deserted street in Moroccan capital Rabat, as the country is put under lockdown. AFP

A deserted street in Moroccan capital Rabat, as the country is under lockdown to tackle the coronavirus. AFP

A closed cinema during Eid in Cairo, Egypt. Reuters

An amusement park is seen empty during the first day of Eid in Amman, Jordan. Reuters

A deserted amusement park during the first day of Eid in Baghdad, Iraq. Reuters

A nearly empty street in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. EPA

Senior citizens, after having been on lockdown, are allowed to venture outdoors and enjoy the Bosphorus shoreline for a part of the first day of Eid in Istanbul, Turkey. Getty Images

Palestinian policemen wearing face masks patrol to prevent people from gathering in front of the sea of Gaza, in the occupied Gaza City, Gaza Strip. EPA

An Iraqi grocer waits for customers at his road side stall in Baghdad's Sadriya district, Iraq. EPA

A Jordanian police officer works at a checkpoint during the first day of Eid in Amman, Jordan. Reuters

Egypt, the most populous Arab country, has recorded more than 16,000 Covid-19 cases and over 700 deaths.

The EMS called on the "executive, judicial and legislative" branches of government to force the health ministry to comply with its demands.

These included providing all doctors with personal protective equipment (PPE), training for dealing with coronavirus cases and testing for those with symptoms or who have come into contact with infected people.

Hospitals have been hit by a flight of doctors abroad in recent years while the frontline staff left behind face shortages of medical supplies and protective gear that heightens the risk of infection.

The EMS statement came after 32-year-old doctor Walid Yehia died on Saturday after being unable to secure a bed in an isolation hospital.

The country's 17 isolation hospitals reserved for novel coronavirus patients reached their maximum capacity at the start of the month, deputy health minister Ahmed al-Sobki told local press last week.

A colleague resigned in protest from the same Cairo hospital where Yehia worked.

Updated: May 25, 2020 09:51 PM

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