U.S. Donates Mobile COVID-19 Testing Vehicles to Egypt
As Egypt seeks to limit the impact of a fourth COVID-19 wave, the U.S. is supporting the country’s efforts by donating a mobile COVID-19 testing unit and a mobile laboratory.
Manufactured by U.S. company Matthews Specialty Vehicles, the mobile medical vehicles help Egypt’s Medical Services Department more quickly assist the Ministry of Defense’s COVID-19 testing efforts.
“Building on [previous] U.S. government donations … to Egypt, these custom-built mobile medical vehicles will help Egypt protect its soldiers, sailors, and airmen from the pandemic, so they can continue to ensure the security of Egypt and the Egyptian people,” U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen said during a handover ceremony.
Driven by COVID-19’s omicron variant, Egypt was still in the grips of its fourth wave of infections as of January 20, acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said in a cabinet meeting.
Dr. Begad Mostafa, a pulmonologist working in COVID-19 isolation hospitals in Cairo, said the situation was as dire as it was at the same time last year.
“The spreading is more and the numbers are high, but the symptoms are milder, thank God,” Mostafa said in a report by thenational.com.
Since the pandemic began, the U.S. has donated $55 million toward Egypt’s COVID-19 response, helping nearly 18 million people receive health services and economic support.
In October, the U.S. gave Egypt more than $5 million to strengthen the country’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 and future public health threats. The donation was made through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“I’d like to thank the United States Government for their support and long-standing cooperation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Hala Zayed, Egypt’s minister of health and population said. “We appreciate international solidarity during this time of crisis. … USAID and the Ministry of Health and Population have a long history of cooperation in the health sector, and I look forward to further cooperation in the years to come.”
The U.S. donated 250 ventilators for use in intensive care units in August 2020. Made in the U.S., the state-of-the-art ventilators are designed to treat child and adult patients experiencing severe breathing difficulties caused by COVID-19. As part of the donation, the U.S. funded a maintenance package and special training for medical workers.
Officials distributed the ventilators to 24 hospitals in 12 administrative divisions.
“The COVID-19 challenge has pushed stronger cooperation between countries to meet evolving humanitarian needs,” said Rania Al Mashat, Egypt’s minister of international cooperation. “Egypt’s partnership with the United States has reflected a spirit of collective responsibility and reciprocated solidarity for the benefit of our communities.”
In June 2020, the U.S. spearheaded an initiative to help the Egyptian Red Crescent’s (ERC) network of 30,000 volunteers and health care professionals to conduct community outreach and help stem the spread of COVID-19. The initiative will also help the ERC respond to future crises.
“The effective response to the impact of COVID-19 requires pulling efforts and combining resources of international organizations in providing the maximum possible protection for the most vulnerable groups and all humanity,” said Nivine El-Kabbag, Egypt’s minister of social solidarity and deputy chairperson of the ERC. “Cooperation with USAID will have a major impact in the development of the Egyptian Red Crescent services and its access to a larger number of beneficiaries.”