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Wednesday, 11 March 2020

All Covid-19 on yesterday’s talk shows

Wall-to-wall coverage of the covid-19 outbreak continued on the airwaves last night: Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal covered the joint press conference held by the ministers of health, tourism and telecommunications on Egypt’s covid-19 cases. Health Minister Hala Zayed said that the positive cases remained at 59 and no new ones had been discovered. She said the ministry had expanded its testing activities to cover all Nile cruise boats and hotels in Luxor and Aswan, where 558 random samples were collected, all of which tested negative. She added that Egypt was among the first countries in the region to purchase PCR detection systems being used in ports nationwide (watch, runtime: 5:03), (watch, runtime 3:03). Min Masr’s Amr Khalil also covered the press conference (watch, runtime: 2:12).

Rapid virus detectors en route: Yahduth Fi Misr’s Sherif Amer spoke by phone with Zayed, who pointed out that Egypt still has a low rate of confirmed cases compared to some European countries. She covered the precautionary measures being taken in ports and said that Egypt had purchased rapid detection systems — which deliver results in 30 minutes compared to the six hours taken by PCR tests — saying they would be deployed in airports to help the initial screening of passengers arriving from high-risk countries (watch, runtime: 12:10). PCR tests will remain the gold standard, she suggested, noting their 98% accuracy rate.

Football behind closed doors: Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan covered the Sports Ministry’s announcement that it will cancel most games in line with the government’s recent ban on large gatherings. He also took note of the Football Association’s announcement that it will hold upcoming matches behind closed doors. (watch, runtime: 2:07).

Gov’t issues warning on online fake news: Radwan also spoke by phone with cabinet spokesman Nader Saad who stressed the harsh measures that would be taken against those who spread false information about covid-19 on social media. He added that the country had not reached a stage that necessitated suspending schools, but the issue was being monitored on an “hourly basis.” (watch, runtime: 6:50). An “anti-rumor law” is currently working its way through the House that would impose a prison sentence of up to three years, and fines of up to EGP 100k, for those convicted of spreading disinformation. Al Hayah Al Youm’s Hossam Hadad (watch, runtime: 3:37), and Khalil (watch, runtime: 2:21) also ran reports warning of the hazards of covid-19 rumormongering.

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