Egypt’s state-run media has launched an incitement campaign against doctors after the medical union warned the country’s health system was about to collapse.
On Monday, Egypt’s Medical Syndicate said that 19 doctors had died of coronavirus in the country whilst 350 had been infected.
It lamented the lack of PPE and the failure to provide isolation units for sick medics and said that the Health Ministry was falling short of its duty to protect doctors.
“The health system could completely collapse, leading to a catastrophe affecting the entire country,” said the syndicate.
“The health ministry has an obligation towards doctors and all medics who are sacrificing their lives on the front lines to defend the safety of the homeland.”
“It is imperative to provide them with the necessary protection and rapid medical intervention for those that contract the disease.”
Earlier this week doctors at Mounira General Hospital resigned on mass to protest against the death of their colleague Walid Yahya, 32, who was not given a test or access to a bed in intensive care despite displaying symptoms of the virus.
In a letter published on Facebook the doctors said the Health Ministry had not only failed to conduct tests on staff but that it puts underexperienced doctors on the front line.
Several hospitals and departments within hospitals have shut down in Egypt after large numbers of their medical staff contracted the virus.
Doctors demanding tests and adequate protective equipment have been threatened with dismissal and detention. Despite this, several medics have resigned or gone on strike after being forced to tend to patients without full protective equipment.
Now, threats have been issued online to kill doctors that go on strike, accusing them of treason.
One Twitter user wrote: “We don’t need doctors for anything. All illnesses and their cures are written about on Wikipedia. We can even watch videos on YouTube and do operations for each other.”
Egyptian MP Farag Amer has accused the Muslim Brotherhood of turning doctors against Egypt and forcing them to resign, reports the New Arab.
Head of Sanofi Healthcare Company, Nebal Dahbeh, compared Egypt’s doctors with martyrs from the Egyptian Army:
“Have you ever heard of someone from the army avoiding martyrdom, or saying, I’m not playing because people are dying? What do you mean you’re protesting?”
An official from the Health Ministry has blamed the doctors at Mounira Hospital for Walid’s death.
Authorities have gone to great lengths to keep the narrative on coronavirus under control, including arresting a number of journalists who have called for the release of political prisoners to ease overcrowding amid the pandemic.