If I suspect that I/my son/husband/wife contracted the novel Coronavirus, what should I do?

  • The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population has set up a hotline (dial 105) for questions regarding the novel Coronavirus and requests for medical assistance throughout Egypt.

I share the apartment with another family who I suspect have contracted the coronavirus but they cannot self-isolate/refuse to get help. What can I do?

  • You should call the Ministry of Health helpline (105) to seek advice and/or report their case to them.
  • Meanwhile, you are advised to keep the entire house as aerated as possible.
  • If masks are available at home, ask the person suspected to have contracted COVID-19 to wear a mask until help is extended by the MoHP
  • When removing the mask, ask the sick person to remove the mask from its hind laces to avoid contaminating the patient’s own hands and dispose of it hygienically by putting it in a solid waste basket that has a cover.
  • If no masks are available, the patient can use tissue paper to cover his/her face every time they need to cough or sneeze. The patient needs to place the tissue in front of his/ her nose and mouth.
  • Get rid of the tissue paper in the same way as the masks in by putting it in a solid waste basket that has a cover.
  • You need to protect yourself by wearing a mask if available if/while you are caring for the sick person. Make sure to dispose of the mask safely by putting it in a solid waste basket that has a cover.
  • If no masks are available, please ensure keeping a distance of more than 1 meter from the sick person so that if s/he sneezes or coughs, the droplets do not reach your nose, mouth and eyes.
  • Ensure washing your hands regularly with soap and water. If you have alcohol-based sanitizers, these can be also used.
  • Ensure regular disinfection of the floors, hard surfaces used for eating and any other surfaces you frequently touch with your hand with water, soap or disinfectants.

What are the special measures/precautions that I should take if I tested positive for COVID-19?

  • Citizens, asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants all alike will receive the same Public health measures that the COVID-19 pandemic response requires at the national level. This means that measures to ensure that the person confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 and irrespective of her/his legal status will receive Ministry of Health care at hospital in the event of exhibiting clinical symptoms.
  • Such measures may necessitate a quarantine until extended care and lab tests reassure that the person has overcome the disease and can leave the quarantine.
  • Ministry of Health measures will also ensure that all contacts of the person confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 are also assessed, tested and observed during the COVID-19 virus incubation period varying between 2- 14 days. If free from a COVID-19 infection, they will resume their normal life whereas if testing positive the same measures of care and quarantine will be undertaken till testing become free and denoting that the person has overcome the disease and can resume normal life too.
  • If you face any particular problems or changes, please report to UNHCR Infoline or medical partners.

I have been refused services by a public health facility because I lost my UNHCR card/because it is expired. What can I do?

  • Public health facilities such as Ministry of Health Primary healthcare facilities do not check UNHCR cards to offer primary health care services and the same applies for Ministry of Health emergency room services.
  • In case you face an emergency that requires hospitalization and you have an expired UNHCR card/have lost your card, UNHCR referral partner Save the Children will support you to access hospitalization care through its contracted hospitals network.

Does caritas or any organization provide sanitizers or hygiene kits to help us stay protected?

  • Partners are currently not distributing sanitizers. If partners start offering this service, you will be informed.
  • In the meantime, you are advised to have soap and floor disinfectants available at your household.

Where can people go to get tested if they'd like to seek assurance that they haven't contracted the virus? And at what cost?

  • The Ministry of Health and Population has devoted a hotline (105) for any person residing in Egypt including asylum- seekers and refugees to seek advice on COVID-19. If any person of concern suspects s/he has contracted the virus or has flu symptoms which they suspect that can be related to COVID-19.
  • Ministry of Health and Population has also designated 28 hospitals to offer assessment and care in relation to COVID-19. The assessment and care for COVID-19 is free of charge.

If someone's suffering from a serious medical condition, do they need to renew their cards to be able to access health services?

  • Guidance was given to UNHCR implementing healthcare partners (Caritas, Refuge Egypt, PSTIC and Save the Children) to sustain the following services and not cease them due to presenting an expired non renewed card whether asylum seeker or refugee card.:
    • Primary healthcare
    • Treatment of chronic diseases
    • Primary mental healthcare
    • Reproductive healthcare for complicated pregnancies
    • Emergencies and other referral care services for critical chronic conditions.
  • These services are also offered to appointment slip holders and asylum certificate holders when it comes to emergency medical care and emergency psychiatric care irrespective of whether these appointment slip or certificates have expired. It is also offered to asylum certificate holders for chronic diseases treatment irrespective of whether these certificates have expired.

Why doesn't UNHCR contract private service providers for corona check-ups/treatment given the known challenges that refugees experience in public hospitals?

  • COVID-19 is a state-led response where Ministry of Health and Population trusted labs carry out testing for disease confirmation and public health measures, care or quarantine measures are equally offered for citizens, refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and any person residing in Egypt. UNHCR is to abide by the state’s response plan and ensure equal access to it.
  • In addition, private facilities  do not have the needed standard public health measures and care response for this pandemic. Therefore, UNHCR will only abide by World Health Organization and Ministry of Health and Population led and directed national responses toward managing this pandemic.

How can communities raise awareness about COVID-19 when they're not allowed to hold community meetings and similar gatherings?

  • Egyptian authorities have undertaken precautionary measures including suspension of schools, universities, youth centers and banning of large gatherings to control COVID-19 transmission risks exacerbated by people being in close proximity. Therefore, community meetings and gatherings should follow suit in adherence to Egypt’s public health measures.
  • UNHCR and its partners have made awareness flyers accessible at its reception centers prior to reduction of activities, on UNHCR Facebook pages and also some partners have translated awareness flyers in different languages.
  • UNHCR and its partners will continue to communicate additional awareness resources while respecting Ministry of Health and Population precautionary measures related to cessation of meetings and gatherings to control COVID-19 transmission risks.
  • You can find all resources in various languages on the Trello board here: