CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt confirmed 33 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday on a River Nile cruise ship.
None of the new cases were showing symptoms of the virus, Health Minister Hala Zayed told reporters. Of 12 suspected cases among the crew announced on Friday, 11 tested negative, she said, but would nevertheless be quarantined for two weeks.
Tourism is a key sector in Egypt’s economy and an important source of foreign exchange. It has recently recovered after years of disruption after Egypt’s 2011 uprising.
The ship arrived in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor on Thursday from Aswan, further upstream, and was towed to a position outside the city and placed under quarantine, state media reported. The first cases emerged after a Taiwanese-American woman who had been on the cruise tested positive for the coronavirus upon her return home.
In total, 171 people were on board the boat including 101 passengers and 70 crew, Zayed said. Of the 45 suspected cases from the boat announced over the past two days, 19 were foreign nationals.
Before the cases on the cruise ship, Egypt had announced just three cases of coronavirus, one of whom it said had fully recovered.
Zayed also said Egypt was deploying testing devices at airports that would show within 30 minutes whether travelers had the coronavirus.
(Reporting by Mai Shams Eddin and Samar Hassan; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Kevin Liffey)