Coronavirus patient diagnosed on Nile cruise thanks 'Egyptian friends' and details hospital treatment

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
The Asara Nile cruise ship, where 45 suspected Covid-19 cases were detected. (AP)

A US journalist who was diagnosed with coronavirus while on board a Nile cruise has spoken about his “friendly” experience of quarantine.

Matt Swider was one of 33 passengers on the MS Asari who were transferred to the Marsa Matrouh hospital in Egypt after testing positive for Covid-19.

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The ship was docked away from other vessels to stop a spread of the virus before the passengers were taken into isolation.

Swider kept followers up to date with his experience, tweeting pictures of the military plane transporting passengers, as well as pictures from inside the hospital, where he spoke of his road to recovery.

Egypt's sudden declaration of 45 new Covid-19 cases from the single ship, a drastic spike from its previous countrywide record of three, sparked fears the disease was far more widely spread in the Arab world's most populous country than the government had detected.

Concerns were first raised about the Asara when a Taiwanese-American woman who took the cruise in late February was confirmed with the virus after returning home.

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Since then at least 21 Americans who returned to the US after taking Nile cruises in late February or early March, apparently on the Asara, have been confirmed with the virus.

Taiwan's Centre for Disease Control rejected the claim that the Taiwanese-American woman was the source of the virus on the ship, asserting she was infected by an Egyptian tour guide who was the first to show symptoms.

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A 60-year-old German tourist from another Nile cruise died late Sunday, marking the country's first and only fatality so far.

In response, the Egyptian government put a temporary ban on large public gatherings but has taken few other precautionary measures, unlike elsewhere in the Middle East, where schools have been shut.

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