NYTimes, Guardian reporters in Cairo sued for publishing misinformation on Covid-19 cases in Egypt

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Mon, 16 Mar 2020 - 06:36 GMT

Coronavirus disease (Covid 2019)- CC via CDC

Coronavirus disease (Covid 2019)- CC via CDC

CAIRO - 16 March 2020: A lawsuit was filed to the Egyptian Attorney General Office against chief of the New York Times Cairo bureau Declan Walsh and the Guardian correspondent in Cairo Ruth Michaelson over reporting misinformation about the coronavirus cases in Egypt, al-Maal newspaper reported on Monday.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Lawyer Amr Abdel-Salam, called on Attorney General Hamada al-Sawy to prevent both reporters from traveling outside Egypt, accusing them of publishing information aimed at destabilizing the public order.

Walsh tweeted on Monday a study that estimated the number of infections in Egypt as more than 19,000 but later deleted it, while Michaelson reported about the study in her article at the Guardian.

After consulting with the Ministry of Health and Population, the Egyptian cabinet denied on Monday news circulating about the infection of 19,000 citizens with Coronavirus.

The ministry pointed out to an interview WHO Representative in Egypt John Jabbour did with CNN on Sunday whereas he praised Egypt’s handling of the pandemic and its ability to control its spread rate given its possession of one the strongest detection systems in the region.

The number of cases infected with Coronavirus (Covid 2019) in Egypt reached 150, including 80 Egyptian nationals, announced Egyptian Minister of Information Osama Heikal in remarks to the media at the headquarters of the Cabinet downtown Cairo on Monday.

In a press conference at the Cabinet on Monday, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that Egypt will be suspending aviation movement in all airports starting March 19 until March 31.

He added all hotels in Egypt will launch a wide sterilization campaign during the suspension period. Madbouly explained that this suspension would cost Egypt losses up to LE 2.25 billion in both the tourism and aviation sectors; “However we value the Egyptians' health over anything else,'' Prime Minister said.

Earlier, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi directed to suspend study at schools and universities across the country for two weeks as of Sunday, March 15, as part of the country's comprehensive strategy to combat Coronavirus.

Coronavirus has forced many countries to suspend their flights around the globe after the infected cases reached 174,605 people and 6,685 deaths were reported to date. On March 10, 2020, the virus was announced a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

“WHO is deeply concerned by the alarming levels of the coronavirus spread, severity & inaction, & expects to see the number of cases, deaths & affected countries climb even higher. Therefore, we made the assessment that COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusin in a press conference.

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