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Coronavirus: Mass resignation at Egypt hospital in protest over doctor's death

Doctors at Al-Munira hospital said Egypt's Ministry of Health made 'arbitrary decisions' in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic
An Egyptian doctor wearing two protective masks checks a patient's lung X-ray at Imbaba hospital, Cairo, 19 April (AFP)

Tens of Egyptian doctors at Al-Munira General Hospital in Cairo have published a mass resignation letter on Facebook, saying that the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and quarantine measures led to the death from Covid-19 of their colleague Walid Yahya.

Ashraf Shafie, director of the hospital, told EG24 News that he had not received an official resignation.

“Nobody has submitted resignation, and no one will submit, and it is just a stunt on Facebook because they have an emotional void," adding that work at Al-Munira “has continued normally until now”.

Meanwhile, another doctor, at Al Shorouk Hospital, had also submitted a written resignation in protest over the lack of enough PPE and Covid-19 tests.

Doctors at Al-Munira hospital said Egypt's Ministry of Health and Population had made "some arbitrary decisions" in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and had failed to conduct the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the medical staff.

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Since March, around 19 Egyptian doctors have died of Covid-19, four of them in the last 24 hours, and another 350 doctors had tested positive for the virus.

In the joint statement, the doctors said that the lack of clear protocols on dealing with patients presenting with respiratory symptoms and the assigning of non-specialist doctors to treat Covid-19 patients had led to the spread of the virus within hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate has released a statement condemning the lack of PPE.

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

"The Ministry of Health has repeatedly failed to do its duty to protect doctors, from refraining from early analyses to detect infections among members of medical teams."

Egypt has recorded over 17,200 confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 760 deaths since the pandemic hit the country in March.

The country has designated 17 hospitals to treat coronavirus patients, which reportedly reached their maximum capacity in early May.

Egypt has the largest population in the Arab world at 100 million people, almost 10 million of whom live in Cairo. 

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