Government holds monopoly over conducting coronavirus tests

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In a statement, the Egyptian drug authority warned against selling or trading coronavirus diagnostic reagents, confirming that these reagents are imported for the benefit of government agencies only, and it has not been authorised that they be sold to any other party.

The authority said it is monitoring all companies importing coronavirus diagnostic reagents to ensure they do not supply them to private laboratories and pharmacies. The authority warned citizens against performing coronavirus diagnostic tests in private laboratories, confirming that they should only be conducted in government laboratories.

Dr. Maha Jaafar, professor of clinical pathology at Cairo University, said that this statement reflects the government’s desire to control the corona reagent market, in order to continue the state’s control over virus testing, and ensure its access alone to the real numbers of infected cases.

The numbers of suspected cases of coronavirus in Egypt have increased dramatically recently, but the Ministry of Health refuses to do PCR tests and places strict restrictions on who can be tested. This prompted private laboratories to try to obtain reagents from importing companies.

Egypt faces sharp criticism for the low number of coronavirus tests and the government’s insistence on its monopoly to conduct the tests, which prompted the World Health Organisation to call on Egypt more than once to increase the number of coronavirus tests it carries out and to have a unified methodology for doing so.