CAIRO, Egypt has appointed Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouli as acting premier to replace Sherif Ismail who has just travelled to Germany for a medical trip, the Egyptian state TV reported on Thursday.

Ismail left for Germany earlier on Thursday “for a three-week visit during which he will undergo a surgery,” said official MENA news agency.

On Wednesday, cabinet spokesman Ashraf Sultan told the local media that Ismail’s surgery is related to his digestive system, refuting spreading rumors about his suffering from a tumor or any suchlike diseases.

For his part, Madbouli said on Thursday that President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi assigned him to the post of acting prime minister until Ismail comes back safely from his medical trip in Germany.

“Engineer Sherif Ismail has a great status in the hearts of all ministers and he has been doing a great effort in his tasks as prime minister,” MENA quoted the housing minister and acting premier as saying.

Speaking at the cabinet, Madbouli noted that his role will focus on keeping things running until Ismail’s return.

“Ismail called me before he travelled and assigned me with following up some important topics on his behalf,” Madbouli said, reassuring that all cabinet meetings will be held regularly as scheduled.

Ismail served as oil minister in the new government formed following the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, until he proved efficient and was appointed by President Sisi as prime minister in mid-September 2015.

In June 2015, the minister of transport was appointed as acting oil minister to replace Ismail during his travel, but the government did not then mention details or reasons.

In early August, Ismail made a two-day trip to Germany for some “medical tests,” raising questions about the premier’s health conditions that have always been met by government reassurances.