WHO, Event Information Site for IHR National Focal

Event Updates: 21 February 2020

Event Updated Country Hazard Disease Event Description IHR Assessment
2020-02-21 Egypt Infectious Coronavirus Infection (COVID-19) On 14 February 2020, the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Egypt made a joint statement regarding the first laboratory-confirmed case of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country. Public Health Risk
Details of the case/s:
The case A is a Chinese national, 38 years old female, residing and working in Cairo, Egypt, with no travel history outside Egypt during the previous three months. The case was asymptomatic and detected through contact tracing of one case who was confirmed in China after visiting Egypt from 21 January to 4 February 2020. To date, she is in a stable condition.


On 13 February, the Rapid Response team of Cairo governorate conducted an investigation in the company audited by Case A. All staff who had contact with her were screened. Six close contacts, all asymptomatic, were identified. Samples (nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal and blood) were collected from them by the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) on 13 February and tested for COVID-19 by PCR the same day. One contact tested positive for COVID-19. This confirmed case (Case B) was immediately isolated in the referral hospital. At the date of reporting, Case B is still asymptomatic and in a stable condition.


Risk Assessment:
On 30 January 2020, WHO Director General declared the current outbreak of COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), with temporary recommendations issued for all countries.


This is the first confirmed case of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) detected in the Arab Republic of Egypt and in the African continent.


The rapid spread within China and the exportation of cases to several countries demonstrate the potential for international spread. Additional cases of COVID-19  imported by travellers are reported by other countries. Exported COVID-19 cases are expected to occur, particularly given the degree of international travel from China. Human to human transmission has been described, thus further spread of the disease cannot be excluded.

Interference with travel and trade:

*A public health risk is something that is (or is likely to be) hazardous to human health or could contribute to a disease or an infectious condition in humans.