Egypt orders quarantine in Luxor, Aswan, South Sinai over coronavirus

Cairo, Mar 18 (efe-epa).- Egypt has put tourism workers in three provinces, including the Valley of the Kings, into quarantine for 14 days in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the government said Wednesday.

The restrictions were imposed on the provinces of Luxor, Aswan and South Sinai starting 16 March or when the last tourist leaves, health minister Hala Zayed told Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, the cabinet posted to its Facebook account.

They will be put into quarantine to prevent them from returning to their respective provinces after a flight ban comes into force, in an attempt to avoid the spread of the virus.Egypt has suspended air traffic at all its airports starting from noon on Thursday until 31 March.

The aviation sector was predicted to suffer losses of 2.25 billion Egyptian pounds ($142 million) due to the suspension, Madbouly said this week.

Measures revealed by Zayed on Thursday also included the disinfection of all tourist facilities as well as government and non-government buildings in these provinces, the health minister said.

No domestic tourism will be allowed in the provinces for 14 days starting from the departure of the international traveller, she continued.

All passengers on Nile cruises, both employees and tourists, have undergone checks with those who tested positive then moved into isolation hospitals, she said.

The ministry of tourism announced in a statement it had started to sterilise all hotels and tourist facilities under the supervision of the health ministry.

The campaign has started in the Hurghada province and will include Luxor hotels from next week, Maged Fawzy, chairman of the Egyptian Hotels Association said.

A German company has been inspecting the hotels to ensure the measures meet international standards, Fawzy added.

In Luxor, hotel workers will be trained in dealing with possible infections at the facilities they work in, as well as awareness-raising programs on how to prevent the spread of the virus.

Egypt has reported 166 confirmed cases and four deaths, according to the most recent figures issued by the World Health Organization

China has been the most affected country by the new coronavirus, after it emerged in Wuhan, the capital city of the central province of Hubei, in December.

The virus has spread across the world with more than 200,000 cases in 148 countries and has been declared a pandemic by the WHO.

The death toll has exceeded 8,000 and more than 82,000 people have recovered from the disease. EFE-EPA


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