Egyptian government admits the crisis in oxygen supplies to hospitals after initial denial

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The Minister of Health Hala Zayed has announced the implementation of a digital system to check hourly the level of oxygen consumption and the number of occupied beds in hospitals. Khaled Mujahed, the spokesman of the ministry of health, added on his official account on Facebook that Zayed ordered maintaining oxygen reserves in each hospital sufficient for 12 hours of full occupancy.

The decisions of Zayed came after the incidents at Zifta and Husaineya Hospitals, where the cut out of the oxygen supply from the hospital’s network caused several deaths among COVID-19 patients. Initially, the ministry of health denied that the deaths were caused by oxygen supply, and attributed them to COVID-19 complications. However, the government had to admit the crisis on the background of the escalating outcry on social media.

After the incidents in Zifta and Husaineya, a Facebook post appeared, in which the manager of Hamool Hospital in Kafr al-Sheikh appealed to citizens to provide the hospital with oxygen cylinders urgently. The manager was then referred to investigation by the governor of Kafr al-Sheikh and the ministry denied the shortage. In the same regard, Al-Araby daily reported an anonymous source inside the ministry of health, who said that the army could assume the responsibility of filling and providing oxygen cylinders adding a new monopoly to his holdings.