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Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Draft budget reviewed as covid-19 fallout still dominates talk shows

It feels like a lifetime since we’ve had anything other than covid-19 on our screens: Last night Finance Minister Mohamed Maait was doing the rounds on the talk shows to discuss the new details of the draft budget released yesterday. Maait dropped into Al Hayah Al Youm (watch, runtime: 17: 12) and Masaa DMC (watch, runtime: 9:51) to talk about the announcement. We have the full story in this morning’s Speed Round, below.

WHO on Egypt’s covid-19 efforts: Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi reported on the World Health Organization’s press conference yesterday, which relayed the latest covid-19 updates in Egypt, and announced that the government had agreed to proceed with clinical trials in search of treatments for the disease (watch, runtime: 2:40), El Hekaya’s Amr Adib (watch, runtime: 3:20) also covered the WHO’s statements.

Two nights ago, Naguib Sawiris took to Al Kahera Alaan to criticize the government’s covid-19 strategy. Last night, it was Alaa Arafa’s turn. The garment maker and industrialist repeated several of the same talking points used by Sawiris to argue against a period of lockdown to contain the virus. Speaking with El Hadidi, Arafa claimed that lockdowns had not been proven effective in flattening the curve in some countries, and emphasized that Egypt cannot afford to completely shut down its economy. Instead, he argued for a so-called “phase 2 rescue strategy” for when the worst of the crisis is over, involving isolating positive and at-risk cases and returning others to work (watch, runtime: 6:30).

A run on the banks? El Hadidi also reported on the crowds dashing toward the nation’s banks and ATMs following the Central Bank of Egypt’s decision on Monday to tighten limits on daily withdrawals and deposits. She voiced distress over the images and noted that the CBE will re-examine its caps in two weeks’ time (watch, runtime: 4:44).

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