Egypt on Sunday announced its first coronavirus-related death, a 60-year-old German tourist who arrived in the country a week ago.
A health ministry statement said the German man was admitted to hospital on arrival on Friday at the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada from the southern city of Luxor.
Test results on Saturday were positive and he died on Sunday following what it said was a breathing failure resulting from a severe case of bronchitis.
The German’s death followed the announcement on Saturday by Health Minister Hala Zayed of 33 new cases of coronavirus on a Nile cruise ship. Egypt on the previous day announced that there were 12 suspected cases among the vessel’s Egyptian crew, of whom 11 were tested negative but would continue to be quarantined for two weeks.
The ship, which shuttles between the southern cities of Aswan and Luxor, was quarantined at a safe distance from Luxor when it arrived there on Thursday.
The ship’s cases came to light after an American-Taiwanese woman who had been on the ship tested positive when she returned home to the United States after her Egypt holiday.
Before the ship’s cases were identified, Egypt had announced only three cases of coronavirus, a Chinese, a Canadian and an Egyptian.
There are growing concerns that the emergence of coronavirus cases in Egypt could negatively impact tourism during a year when the vital sector was expected to be the best on record.
Authorities have since last week been checking passengers arriving at the country’s airports. On Sunday, the ministers of health, tourism and civil aviation agreed with the industry leaders to install screening equipment at hotels to check guests. They have also agreed that hotel owners would hire experts to run checks on the food and beverages being served.
Egypt is a country of more than 100 million people whose resources are stretched to the limit, leaving services like education and health care sorely wanting.