May 20, 2020 / 6:24 PM / 5 days ago

Egypt to offer coronavirus testing in all general hospitals

FILE PHOTO: A man and a woman wear protective masks amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as they walk from the main gate of a hospital in Cairo, Egypt March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt signalled an expansion of testing for the new coronavirus on Wednesday, announcing that all the country’s 320 general hospitals would offer testing to people showing symptoms of the illness.

People with minor symptoms will be sent home as they await test results, while those showing serious symptoms will be kept in hospital, according to a government statement. Since May 14, some patients with minor symptoms are being asked to self-isolate at home rather than in quarantine hospitals.

Egypt confirmed 745 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, the highest daily increase yet, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 14,229.

The health ministry reported 21 new deaths, raising total deaths to 680. The number of people confirmed to have recovered stands at 3,994.

The World Health Organization has urged Egypt to expand the number of tests, without saying what level of testing it considers appropriate.

Authorities have not released regular updates on the number of tests carried out, though a presidential adviser said earlier this month that 105,000 PCR tests had been conducted.

Reporting by Moamen Said Atallah; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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