Human Rights Watch said that at least 14 prisoners and detainees died of complications from infection with the Coronavirus in several prisons and police stations in Egypt until the middle of this month, amid a strict and official blackout.
The organization added, quoting eyewitnesses, leaked letters and reports of human rights groups, that medical care in Egyptian prisons is not enough.
The organization urged the Egyptian authorities to tackle the spread of the virus by speeding up the release of prisoners. Joe Stork, deputy director of the organization's Middle East and North Africa division, called on the Egyptian authorities to take immediate steps to ensure adequate medical care for the detainees and measures to contain the outbreak of the Corona virus, according to the WHO statement.
"It is essential that Egypt tackle the spread of the virus by accelerating the release of prisoners ... rather than trying to obfuscate a serious health crisis in prisons," Stork said.
The Human Rights Watch report indicated that prison authorities took no measures to track contact with and did nothing to isolate symptoms inmates.
It also accused the authorities of not taking any special measures to protect groups at greater risk, such as older prisoners and people with previous medical conditions. She said that the guards in at least three prisons refused to allow prisoners to obtain or place masks.
The organization reported that some prisoners relied on medications and sterilizers for their families to enter when allowed to do so.
It also urged the Egyptian authorities to make public information about the spread of the Corona virus in prisons public, and to allow prisoners regular contact with their families and lawyers.
According to the organization, the Egyptian authorities have released 13,000 prisoners since last February, but they considered this "not enough" to solve the problem of overcrowding in prisons.