Activists accused the Egyptian government of using the new Coronavirus crisis and seeking to gain out from it, by imposing high fees on those wishing to conduct a PCR analysis to detect the new coronavirus. Photos showed hundreds of people gathered in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of Health after the Gulf states announced condition to have a coronavirus-free certificate to enter. The central laboratory in the Ministry, located in the center of the capital, Cairo, on Sunday morning, witnessed great crowding from those wishing to conduct the analysis, which the Ministry announced to conduct for Egyptians at a cost of one thousand pounds (about 64 US dollars), and seventy dollars for non-Egyptians.
The Ministry of Health announced the availability of the analysis in its central laboratories across the country, and said in a statement yesterday, Saturday, that the analysis determines the presence and quantity of viruses in the blood, noting that its results appear after three or four days. Saudi Arabia had required the travelers to obtain that certificate, on condition that it be done about 24 hours before traveling to enter its territory, as well as other Gulf countries, including Kuwait and the Sultanate of Oman.
The activists considered that the Egyptian government has dealt with this requirement with the logic of financial exploitation, ignoring the deteriorating living conditions of citizens, as others have asked: How much will the value of treatment be in the event of its discovery, if the analysis of detecting the virus cost this amount. The profits of the state could receive estimated with billions, due to the desire of tens of thousands of Egyptians to conduct the analysis. Activists noting that any country that respects its citizens would have provided this analysis without such a heavy fee. They condemned the government to overlook these crowds, which are inconsistent with the most important precautions required to avoid infection with the virus, which is to avoid crowding and direct communication between individuals. Some questioned What if it was proven that one of those people who gathered wishing to obtain this analysis was infected with the virus, would the Ministry require all those who attended to conduct the analysis to repeat it again, fearing that they had contact with an infected person to ensure that the infection had not been transmitted to them. Some pointed out that, based on what Saudi Arabia stated regarding the requirement of conducting the analysis 24 hours before traveling, the Egyptian authorities announced that the result of the analysis requires a few days, and those who wish to have an urgent analysis should pay twice. The Egyptian Prime Minister, Moustafa Madbouly, said that the number of cases infected with Coronavirus in Egypt is 67 cases.
Another aspect of financial exploitation has been the prices of appropriate medical masks that citizens began to search frantically. The most commonly traded species, according to doctors and specialists, is the muzzle known as the N95, but buying it at its natural price has become impossible with the sudden disappearance of the masks, or their exaggerated price hikes, which sometimes amounted to 30 EGP for a regular muzzle, while the price of which does not exceed 7 pounds in normal times. Others confirmed the increase in the muzzle N95 prices, sometimes according to buyers, to 200 pounds, what pushed some to buy from online selling sites, revealing completely different prices. Egyptians looking for these gags confirmed that the price of the muzzle has reached about 50 EGP for one or 35 EGP, and in case of making an order to buy a complete box with about 20 masks price ranges between 90 and 140 EGP per one, but despite the varying prices, they are not present either.” Customers added that when trying to purchase from online selling sites, the price of the box containing 20 masks has reached 2800 pounds, and with a period to wait several days to receive the order.
The head of the pharmacies division of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Mahmoud Abdel-Maksoud, spoke about widespread exploitation of the crisis of the spread of the Coronavirus, and stressed that the prices of gags increased exaggeratedly. He pointed out that the regular (not N95) masks box increased from 50 to 300 EGP and is currently unavailable. He added during a telephone interview to Cairo Now TV show, which is presented by Lamees Al-Hadidi on Al-Arabiya Al-Hadath TV channel, that the price of the N95 muzzle box (pack 20) reached 1,200 EGP, or 60 EGP per one muzzle, and it is not currently available, pointing out that the price of this muzzle reaches Currently in some pharmacies to 70 L.E.