October 10, 2018 / 5:05 PM / 7 months ago

Egypt says to check hotels at Red Sea resort where British couple died

(Reuters) - (This October 10 story has been refiled to replace “investigation” with “audit” in first and last paragraph.)

Egypt will audit the health and safety standards of hotels in Hurghada, the tourism ministry said on Wednesday, less than two months after a British couple died in the Red Sea resort.

The ministry said it would work with international experts from consultancy Preverisk to carry out comprehensive checks.

The British couple, John and Susan Cooper, died within hours of each other on Aug. 21 while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada.

Last month, Egypt’s public prosecutor said that e-coli bacteria was a factor in the deaths.

The prosecutor said John Cooper, 69, was suffering from health problems but that e-coli caused gastroenteritis and heart failure which killed him. Cooper’s wife Susan, 63, was also likely to have been affected by e-coli and died of Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a blood ailment, the prosecutor said.

The ministry did not mention the deaths of the British tourists but said in a statement the checks would “improve health and safety standards through detection, follow-up, training and performance development for all employees at these hotels, especially those who work directly with food and beverages.”

Egypt is trying to revive tourism, a crucial source of foreign currency, while the economy is still struggling from the years of turmoil that followed a 2011 popular uprising.

The ministry of tourism said the audit of hotels in Hurghada would be followed by checks of hotels and tourist resorts in other parts of the country.

Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Lena Masri; editing by Sami Aboudi and Elaine Hardcastle

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