Copy of 2020-03-16T144031Z_111034280_RC22LF99TUPV_RTRMADP_3_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-EGYPT-1584447294587
Students walks past information and instructions on coronavirus disease at Cairo University in Egypt. Image Credit: REUTERS

Cairo: Egyptian authorities have placed under quarantine 300 families in a province where two locals had died from the new coronavirus, Health Minister Hala Zayed said.

On Monday, the Health Ministry announced the death of a 50-year-old man due to the virus in Dakahllia, about 120km north of Cairo, the second such fatality in the Nile Delta province. On March 12, a 65-year-old woman had died from the Covid-19 reportedly after coming in contact with an infected Italian woman who had come to the village to bury her dead Egyptian husband.

“We have identified 300 families in this village and quarantined them in order to disinfect the whole area,” the minister said.

Authorities have recorded a total of four deaths, including two German tourists, due to the coronavirus and 166 infections.

Egypt has intensified precautions to curb the spread of the viral ailment in the country of about 100 million people.

The measures include halting all flights to the country for almost two weeks, closing educational institutions, shortening prayer time and banning large public gatherings.

The flight suspension is expected to cost the country’s vital tourism about $500 million, according to Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al Enany.

“Revenues from tourism reaches $1 billion a month. But the health of Egyptians and our foreign guests are more important,” he said in media remarks.

The government has repeatedly denied allegations that infections and deaths in the country are higher than the announced figures, and sternly warned rumour-mongers about the situation.

Authorities have arrested three people over spreading “rumours and false news” about the coronavirus, private newspaper Al Masry Al Younm citing security sources.

The three are accused of falsely claiming that the virus had caused high numbers of deaths in the country, the sources added.