Egypt’s quarantine hospital protocol violates WHO guidelines

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The Ministry of Health has published a brochure directed to the directors of quarantine hospitals in Egypt, which includes a working protocol for these hospitals. The protocol stipulated rapid diagnostic tests for coronavirus – antigen – for all medical teams working in quarantine hospitals, immediately upon their arrival and before their departure, and if the test is positive, a swab is taken to be confirmed with a PCR. These rules contravene WHO guidelines issued on April 8 which recommend against relying on the rapid diagnostic test for diagnosis because these tests may give false positive results and almost half of active cases may be missed, further hampering disease control efforts.

Dr. Mona Mina, former secretary-general of the Physicians Syndicate, said that the Ministry of Health’s instructions have no scientific basis, and clearly contradict the World Health Organisation’s guidelines, warning against the application of these rules, which threaten the lives of doctors working in quarantine hospitals. Mona Mina demanded that these instructions be stopped and PCR tests be conducted before staff are allowed to leave the quarantine hospitals and be in contact with their families.

The number of health care workers infected with coronavirus is more than 13 per cent of the total number of cases, which is one of the largest percentages in the world.