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Coronavirus: Egyptian school student tests positive as one woman dies in Nile delta

Egypt has reported 80 coronavirus cases and two deaths as of Thursday, with the ancient city of Luxor under semi-lockdown
A woman wears a protective mask while riding the metro in Cairo on 10 March, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Reuters)

A student at a Cairo school has tested positive for the coronavirus, one day after authorities had closed the school for quarantine, a health ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

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According to Khaled Mogahed, one student at the City International School in the Zamalek district in the capital had contracted the virus after his father had been in contact with an infected foreign national.

The ministry on Thursday decided to shut down the school and order its students and staff to self-isolate for a fortnight after suspecting that one student had the virus.

“The school has been closed as a precautionary measure, and will be disinfected on Saturday,” Mogahed said.

“Those who show symptoms will be tested, others will be obliged to self-isolate for 14 days.”

The Zamalek school is the only one to be closed in the country as part of measures to combat the novel virus.

The vast majority of countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, have closed schools and universities to stop the spread of the coronavirus, while Egypt has yet to follow suit.

Egypt has reported 80 cases of coronavirus infections and two deaths, while 27 cases have recovered.

The first death was a 60-year-old German tourist, who had arrived in Egypt on 1 March and died a week later at a hospital in Hurghada after suffering respiratory failure caused by acute pneumonia.

First death in Nile delta

The second death was reported on Thursday: a 60-year-old Egyptian woman from the Nile delta governorate of Dakahliya.

According to a health ministry statement, the woman was hospitalised in Mansoura on Wednesday after suffering from acute pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus.

She was then transferred to a specialised hospital for quarantine but died a day later.

While the ministry did not provide further details about how the woman might have contracted the virus, sources told local newspapers that she had recently been in contact with an Italian woman whose Egyptian husband died and had been buried recently in the deceased woman’s hometown.  

Since Thursday, the ministry has quarantined 10 cases who had been in contact with the woman.

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According to health ministry sources who spoke to Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper, six members of the woman’s family had been ordered to self-isolate for 14 days, while all the medical staff who dealt with the case have been tested and have gone into self-isolation as well.

The Italian woman returned to Italy after spending three days with her husband's family.

“The deceased woman and her family had been in touch with the man’s family,” the source said.

Thursday’s case is the first to be reported in the Nile delta. The outbreak in Egypt has so far been concentrated in the southern city of Luxor, with most cases detected on a Nile River cruise ship

The ancient city has been semi-lockdown since Monday in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, also known as COVID-19.