Prime Minister reviews Egypt 2021 medical plan
Egypt Prime Minister Dr. Moustafa Madbouly held a meeting to review the COVID-19 medical preventive plan that will be implemented during the IHF World Handball Championship, Egypt 2021, which will be held between January 13th and the 31st
The meeting was attended by Dr. Hala Zayed, Minister of Health and Population, Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Youth and Sports, and Dr. Hassan Moustafa, President of the International Handball Federation.
The Prime Minister began the meeting by emphasising that Egypt pays great attention to this important event, especially that H.E. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is keen to follow up on Egypt's preparations to host the tournament. The President has also tasked the government to take all necessary measures to ensure that this global event is organised in an honorable manner befitting Egypt.
Nader Saad, the official spokesman for the Ministers’ Cabinet, said that Dr. Madbouly confirmed that the government is working on finalising the organisation’s details in the best possible way, especially regarding the preventive measures related to the Coronavirus, in order to preserve the health and safety of everyone, Egyptians and foreigners.
Dr. Sobhy confirmed that the Ministry of Youth and Sports is working in full swing to follow up all the requirements related to hosting the tournament, whether in regard to the stadiums and their readiness, or accommodation hotels and transportation, as well as medical and preventive measures in coordination with the Ministry of Health. IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa praised Egypt's distinguished efforts to organise Egypt 2021, noting that this is the most important tournament in the world of handball, and that he is confident in Egypt's ability to organise it optimally. The Cabinet spokesman added that the IHF President praised the decision taken by the Egyptian government last June to resume sports activities, stressing that it was a bold and wise decision, and without it, two Egyptian teams would not have reached the final of the Football CAF Champions League. Dr. Zayed indicated that the Ministry's plan in this regard relies on four axes: assessing risks, raising awareness, applying precautionary measures, and dealing with suspected cases. She explained that the risk assessment will be done by classifying the degree of Coronavirus’ activity in the participating countries, as well as by applying routine quarantine measures to all attendees, and raising the level of precautionary measures to deal with the delegations of those countries without affecting the activities, in addition to conducting a PCR test for all delegations. When the delegation settles at the accommodation hotels, it will be repeated every 72 hours. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health will carry out a number of other activities to raise awareness, by providing training materials and preventive guidance to all participants in the tournament, and training all medical teams on the mechanisms of suspecting cases and reporting them, and identifying points of contact in each hotel and for each team separately. The Ministry will also in this regard provide the scientific material and formulate it in a way suitable for display on the visual advertisement screens, and train the hotel staff, stadiums and administrative bodies participating in the tournament on preventive measures, as well as train workers to collect waste in safe ways.
The Minister of Health indicated that the precautionary measures that will be applied during the tournament include fixing the work force that has direct contact with the delegates in every hotel or stadium hosting one of the teams until the team’s delegation travels, and fixing all kinds of employment in the form of fixed packages with each team throughout the duration of the tournament so that the interaction is limited to certain persons. This limits the spread of infection and facilitates the follow-up process for contacts.
The precautionary measures also include the application of the rules of physical distancing, by dividing the playing field into zones, each area is symbolised by a certain colour and has specific preventive measures. The individuals within each colour zone are restricted to limit their movement within the space specified for them. This also includes the procedures for physical avoidance of crowding at training times and maintaining social distance when attending official matches, meetings, dining rooms, restrooms and hotel rooms, so that the percentage of presence does not exceed 25% to 50% of the capacity of these places.
The precautionary measures also include ensuring good ventilation at all places, and making sure that all tournament participants wear face protection when in common places, and recommending the use of cups and dishes that are single-use.
Dr. Zayed added that among the precautionary measures that will be implemented during the tournament will be periodic disinfection and the provision of a safe and healthy environment, through hotels and stadiums administrations to provide all transmission control supplies and disinfectants.
Dr. Zayed addressed the mechanisms of dealing with suspected cases, as the preventive crisis room will be activated to work 24/7 to receive reports first-hand from the cities hosting the tournament, and a rapid response team will be assigned in the event venues to deal immediately with suspected cases, and follow-up on people who contacted positive cases, ensuring the availability of appropriate isolation rooms in accommodation hotels, training and stadiums, and apply all infection control measures to them.
In the same context, the Minister pointed out that the electronic symptom surveillance system will be implemented to activate the precautionary measures immediately, and when simple symptoms appear on one of the participants, the case is medically evaluated, a swab is made to conduct a PCR test, and the patient is isolated in his room in the hotel or in the isolation room designated for that, and will be notified.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Prime Minister ordered the formation of a taskforce including the ministers of Youth and Sports, Health, Tourism, and Transportation, and representatives of the IHF; to discuss details of spectators’ attendance.