First death from coronavirus recorded in Egypt

German tourist dies from COVID-19 in Sinai resort, marking the first death from the epidemic in Africa.

Elad Benari ,


A German tourist died on Sunday from the novel coronavirus in a Sinai resort of eastern Egypt, the health ministry announced, the first death from the epidemic recorded in Africa, AFP reports.

"The 60-year-old German citizen showed symptoms of a fever (and) checked into Hurghada hospital on 6 March," before testing positive for COVID-19, the ministry said in a statement.

The tourist, who arrived from Germany a week ago, died after having refused to be transferred to an isolation ward until March 7, once his breathing had been affected by "acute pneumonia".

On Saturday, the health ministry announced 45 suspected cases of Egyptians and foreigners contracting the virus aboard a Nile cruise ship.

The boat was carrying 171 people -- 101 foreigners and 70 Egyptian crew -- Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli told reporters.

Besides the cruise ship cases, Egypt has detected three cases of the virus, the first of which was announced on February 14.

The health ministry said last week that the first patient, a Chinese national, had recovered and been released.

The other two cases, a Canadian working in an oil company and an Egyptian who returned from Serbia through France, were still undergoing treatment.

Other countries, including France, have announced that six travelers returning from Egypt had tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Sunday announced an entry ban on "anyone who has been in Egypt during the past two weeks and is not a citizen or resident of Israel."

The country in the region which has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus thus far is Iran. As of Saturday, 4,747 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Iran, of which 124 were fatal. COVID-19 has affected every Iranian province, with the largest number of cases recorded in Tehran.

There have been high-profile deaths in Iran from the coronavirus. These include a member of the council advising the Ayatollah, a former ambassador, a newly-elected member of parliament, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and a re-elected member of parliament who died on Saturday.

The coronavirus has also hit the Palestinian Authority, mainly in the town of Bethlehem. In the wake of the outbreak of the virus in the PA, the Israeli defense ministry announced last week it had imposed emergency measures on Bethlehem, with everybody "forbidden from entering or leaving the city".

On Sunday evening, the Ministry of Health announced that anyone who has been in the Bethlehem area over the past 14 days must enter isolation under the Ministry's guidelines.