Written on Jul 01, 2021 by OBG Admin

The government moved quickly to implement containment and other health measures. The Ministry of Health (MoH) announced the first confirmed case of Covid-19 on February 14, 2020, and by March 19 all international flights were suspended and a curfew from 7.00pm to 6.00am was imposed. Places of worship were closed on March 22, and Ramadan gatherings were banned in April. A state of emergency was also imposed, giving the president additional powers aimed at better controlling the spread of the virus.

The government disbursed LE8bn to facilitate the provision of urgent medical supplies and bonuses for staff working in quarantine hotels and laboratories. An initial 17 facilities were designated as isolation hospitals, with medical professionals working there given a 75% pay increase. In November 2020 the government announced measures to stem a possible second wave of the virus, including fines of LE4000 for people not wearing masks in public and creating a protocol for medical treatment of Covid-19 cases to be used in facilities across the country.

The pandemic is expected to have long-term implications for the health sector, as it highlighted areas for improvement and public-private collaboration. In June the Sovereign Fund of Egypt launched subfunds for the health, infrastructure, food and agricultural processing sectors, which are seen as having significant investment opportunities. To help the health sector better manage the pandemic and future crises, the fund reshuffled its priorities to include the development of health services and pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity. The pandemic also underscored the need to address the rising incidence of chronic and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as these underlying conditions led to more severe cases of Covid-19. According to the World Health Organisation, NCDs account for around 82% of deaths and 67% of premature deaths in Egypt. These diseases put extra strain on the health care system, but the development of specialised programmes and training for medical staff – through either public-private partnerships or incentives for private investment – could improve the provision of preventive care.

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