Egyptians blame movie pageant as virus charges rise


Nov 21, 2020

CAIRO — Nine Egyptian artists have recovered from the novel coronavirus as of Nov. 15 after having contracted it through the El-Gouna Film Festival, held within the metropolis of el-Gouna on the Red Sea coast from Oct. 23-31.

Social media customers accused the producers, brothers Naguib and Samih Sawiris and different enterprise individuals, of risking a second wave of the virus for the sake of revenue and fame.

From Nov. three to Nov. 6, 10 attendees of the pageant introduced that they examined constructive: actors Nashwa Mustafa, Basma, Zainab Gharib, Ola Rushdie, Ahmed Daoud, Asir Yassin and Salma Abu Deif, designer Reem al-Adl, producer Mohammad al-Adl and rapper Ahmed Ali, aka Wegz.

Egyptian journalist Mohamed Mansour wrote on Facebook Nov. 5 that the Sawiris household was liable for the outbreak of the coronavirus in el-Gouna and have to be held accountable. He mentioned that the wave will not solely have an effect on businessmen and artists who can afford remedy, however damage many different individuals who shouldn’t have the identical assets, such because the drivers and staff who had been involved with the artists through the pageant and others contaminated by attendees.

According to the Health Ministry, on Oct. 22, at some point forward of the pageant, 178 new circumstances of the virus had been recorded, and by Nov. 8, 239 circumstances had been registered, the very best in additional than three months and a 35% improve throughout the nation.

Some Twitter customers echoed that opinion and known as for holding the Sawiris accountable with the Arabic hashtag for #CoronaFestival. They warned that the pageant heralds the unfold of the virus throughout Egypt.

London-based Egyptian critic Amir al-Emari wrote privately on Facebook Nov. 6 that tens of millions of Egyptian kilos had been spent on the pageant’s opening ceremony, however precautionary measures weren’t revered. He mentioned that pageant director Intishal al-Tamimi and the actress generally known as Bushra, a co-founder, had been knowledgeable of the procedures that have to be adopted. According to Emari, through the Venice Festival, the place he was additionally current, the 2 had instructed him that they’d inform the Red Sea governor about these measures and coordinate on their implementation.

Emari puzzled if Tamimi and Bushra had did not persuade the Sawiris brothers of the need of implementing such measures and whether or not the state and the governor supplied any assist.

The el-Gouna International Film Festival was established in 2017 by the Sawiris brothers, who personal el-Gouna Tourist Resort. Their objective was to promote the resort, which has turn out to be the preferred and some of the costly in Egypt since overseas vacationers and rich Egyptians began to frequent it because the pageant’s reputation grew.

A.H., a physician near El-Gouna, instructed Al-Monitor that the numbers didn’t considerably improve within the Red Sea governorate after the pageant, although he did say it was doable that individuals contracted the virus with out reporting their sicknesses.

“When symptoms are mild, many Egyptians prefer not to go to the hospital, especially considering that the home treatment protocol for mild symptoms is known and available in pharmacies, so they are not officially counted,” he added.

The pageant’s director instructed Al-Monitor that stories in regards to the unfold of the virus on the pageant and in el-Gouna have been “blown out of proportion.” Tamimi identified that the variety of circumstances quantities to lower than 1% of the whole variety of invitees, journalists and staff within the pageant. He mentioned that the pageant adhered to all precautionary measures, suggesting that a restricted variety of circumstances almost certainly occurred throughout personal events or casual gatherings on the sidelines of the pageant. Neither the pageant nor the Sawiris brothers are in charge for such circumstances, he mentioned.

Out of greater than 1,500 invitees, 280 journalists and 135 staff on the pageant, solely 10 artists, one employee and one journalist examined constructive for the virus. However, the general public anger went past the pageant and its founders.

Costume designer Reem Al-Adl, an attendee who wound up contaminated, instructed Al-Monitor that the organizers weren’t careless. She mentioned, “The measures were taken and supervised by the Ministry of Health, whose spokesman attended the festival,” including, “Not all of the occasions or live shows that had been held in el-Gouna through the festivals days had been the duty of the organizers of the pageant, and people occasions will be the supply of an infection in the event that they weren’t adhering to the precautionary measures.

Khaled Megahed, a spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Health who attended the closing ceremony, praised the organizers and workers for his or her adherence to precautionary measures in an Oct. 30 press assertion. 

Many Twitter customers criticized Egyptian enterprise individuals for mobilizing voters by bribing them. A lot of businessmen ran within the latest parliamentary elections, together with such notables as Muhammad Abu al-Enein, Sherif al-Jabali, Abeer Essam and Hala Abu al-Saad. They additionally cited the August elections, which featured various enterprise individuals reminiscent of Ahmed Abu Hashima, Ahmed Sabour and Hani al-Assal.

Saad Makki, undersecretary of the Health Ministry, instructed Al-Monitor that the Egyptian legislative elections are being carried out underneath the supervision of medical groups from the Health Ministry to make sure that all precautionary measures reminiscent of masks, sanitation and social distancing are adopted.

He mentioned that no violations have been reported among the many voters or these supervising the elections, together with the police, navy forces and election judges. He confused that no infections have been reported amongst any of them.

Meanwhile, Tharwat Ali, a professor of political sociology at Mansoura University, instructed Al-Monitor that the legislative elections are unlikely to trigger a surge in circumstances. The low turnout, he mentioned, counsel that not many voters may have been paid to take part.

Ali mentioned that the general public anger is because of stereotypes that say enterprise individuals don’t care about the lives of residents and solely consider income or energy. He defined that this picture is a remnant of the regime of former President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, underneath whom associates typically used their positions to advance their private pursuits.

The National Elections Commission introduced Nov. 1 that the turnout within the first spherical of the parliamentary elections was solely 28%. Turnout within the Senate elections was even decrease at 14%, in keeping with a press release by the identical fee in August.