CAIRO, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian Health Ministry confirmed on Wednesday 14 new cases of COVID-19, raising the total number in the country since mid-February to 210.
"The 14 new cases that tested positive for the virus include two foreigners and 12 Egyptians," said the ministry's spokesman Khaled Megahed in a statement, noting the cases all had contact with previously confirmed COVID-19 cases.
On the other hand, two cases recovered and were discharged from the quarantine hospital on Wednesday, raising the number of cured cases to 28, according to the health ministry's spokesman.
Egypt has so far recorded six deaths of the pandemic, including three Egyptians and three foreigners all aged between 50 and 78.
Meanwhile, the most populous Arab country has recently been taking strict precautionary measures to control the spread of the virus.
The measures include shutting down schools, universities and all classes temporarily, suspending flights, reducing employees, prohibiting smoking hookah or shisha at coffee shops and sterilizing means of transport, government departments, hotels and tourist attractions.
The country also halted on Tuesday exporting face masks and all types of alcohol and alcoholic disinfectants "to meet the needs of Egyptian citizens for the protection of the spread of coronavirus," according to a statement from the Trade and Industry Ministry.
On Wednesday, Egypt started sterilizing hotels and places frequented by foreign tourists in the Red Sea resort city of Hurghada as the first stage of sterilizing all hotels and resorts across the country.
"The sterilization process is carried out by efficient and trained teams according to international standards," said Maged Fawzi, head of Egypt Hotels Association, pointing out that the used sterilization material is approved by the Health Ministry.
Fawzi added in a statement that the sterilization campaign will start next week at hotels in Upper Egypt's monument-rich province of Luxor as the second phase, noting that his association will also provide programs to raise the awareness of hotel employees on how to safeguard themselves against the virus.
Earlier on Wednesday, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly held a meeting with Health Minister Hala Zayed to follow up the latest efforts to combat COVID-19.
Zayed explained that all tourism staff and workers dealing with foreigners in Luxor, Aswan and South Sinai provinces will have to go through a 14-day quarantine after the complete departure of tourists, the cabinet said in a statement.
For his part, South Sinai Governor dismissed claims of the lockdown of the famous Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh over COVID-19 concerns.