Egypt probes COVID-19 deaths due to alleged lack of oxygen

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Hundreds of people are waiting every day to make the covid 19 test in the Public Health Laboratory in Tahrir square on 13.12.2020, Cairo , Egypt (Photo by Vassilis A. Poularikas/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Hundreds of people are waiting every day to make the covid 19 test in the Public Health Laboratory in Tahrir square on 13.12.2020, Cairo , Egypt (Photo by Vassilis A. Poularikas/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Egypt on Sunday said it had opened an investigation into the deaths of four Covid-19 patients in an intensive care unit allegedly due to lack of oxygen, amid a public outcry.

The prosecutor’s office confirmed the video was of Al-Husseiniya hospital, which was also identified in comments on social media.

The 45-second video also shows hospital staff apparently trying to revive patients.

“The prosecutor’s office in Al-Husseiniya (in the northern Sharqiya province) summoned the director of Al-Husseiniya hospital to question him over the deaths of four people due to lack of oxygen,” a judicial source told AFP, without specifying the dates of the deaths.

Since Saturday, numerous social media users had shared a video of patients in a hospital ward, with a voice heard saying “everyone is dead in intensive care”.

Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the patients in Al-Husseiniya had “died at different times and most of them were elderly and suffering from chronic illnesses” which had been exacerbated by the virus, leading to their deaths.

But Egypt’s Health Minister Hala Zayed said later Sunday that there were “sufficient medical oxygen supplies at all hospitals receiving coronavirus patients”.

Authorities acknowledge, however, that the real number of cases is higher, as only positive tests from health ministry labs have been reported.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with around 100 million inhabitants, has reported more than 140,000 cases of the Covid-19 disease, including 7,800 deaths.

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