Egypt’s doctors complain of governmental maltreatment

The General Syndicate of Doctors of Egypt announced on Thursday that it recorded more than 230 cases of coronavirus among doctors, in addition to 10 deaths. The number of infections among the members of the medical team has doubled, after witnessing a huge leap in recent days, after more than 200 new infections were recorded, including at least 135 cases at al-Zahraa University Hospital.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health announced that the number of new coronavirus infections has risen to 11,228, after 399 new infections were recorded during the past 24 hours. These figures indicate a new rise in the infection index compared to the past days. The number of deaths reached 592 with an additional 21 deaths recorded, which means 5.27 per cent of the total infected people.

A statement by the Ministry of Health said that “the number of people recovering rose to 2,799 cases, after the exit of 173 infected from isolation and quarantine hospitals out of 3,363 cases. The results of their laboratory analyses turned from positive to negative.” Many questions surround the figures of infection announced officially by the Egyptian authorities, especially after government decisions to limit the number of daily virus tests.

Egyptian doctors confirmed that the Egyptian Ministry of Health did not provide them with the means to protect against the coronavirus, and when they had symptoms of infection, they did not provide them with PCR tests, nor did they respond to those infected or provide them with quarantine places. Doctors say the increased numbers of coronavirus infections among medics has sparked outrage among many of them.

The crisis and the wrath of the doctors collided after al-Zaharaa quarantine hospital refused to receive newly graduated doctors. Doctors said they slept on the floor in the hospital corridors without finding even a bed to sleep on. While the media loyal to the Egyptian regime have praised the doctors, describing them as the white army, the fact is that they left those soldiers to die without armour or weapons, one of the angry young doctors said on Facebook.

Doctors said that a simple comparison between the military and the doctors in terms of income, salaries, and medical care if they were infected with coronavirus, made the term the White Army laughable. Doctors indicated that the Egyptian government said that a number of military personnel who were infected with coronavirus were infected while working to combat the virus, while insisting that doctors working in quarantine hospitals were infected with the virus while practicing social activities unrelated to their medical work.

The Physicians Syndicate demanded an increase in the number of isolation hospitals due to the high number of casualties. It also called on General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to allocate a hospital to isolate doctors and members of the medical team.

In a statement the Medical Syndicate stated that it had received notes from doctors working in various agencies, stating that there is a crowd of patients in quarantine hospitals, which sometimes results in a delay in transferring patients with coronavirus to quarantine hospitals if needed, and sometimes a delay in transporting patients with symptoms to quarantine places other than hospitals, such as student cities which have been designated quarantine zones.

The syndicate demanded the quick opening of new quarantine hospitals in different governorates according to the infections index in each governorate, as well as an increase in non-curative quarantine places such as university cities (buildings designated for university students housing) and contracting with some hotels if the university cities are insufficient.

However, observers fear that the Egyptian regime is unable or unwilling to do more to confront the coronavirus, and that the regime will wait for herd immunity to occur, and it will sacrifice hundreds, or thousands, who will lose their lives, but the regime does not want to announce this in order to avoid popular anger.