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Egypt: Public anger at call to deny Muslim Brotherhood affiliates Covid-19 treatment 

June 10, 2020 at 11:46 am

Medical staff wearing protective gear help a patient in the isolated ward for the coronavirus in Cairo, Egypt on 29 April 2020 (COVID-19) [YAHYA DIWER/AFP/Getty Images]

A notorious media personality in Egypt has called for Covid-19 treatment to be denied to affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ahmed Moussa is well known for inciting against opponents of the Sisi regime, and has claimed that those linked to the movement are “not human”. His demand was met with a wave of popular anger and scorn.

The pro-regime Moussa used an episode of his programme Sada Al-Balad to say that members of the Brotherhood are “traitors” and not worthy of living in Egypt. His demand to deny them coronavirus treatment at the expense of the state was based on his claim that entire families affiliated to the banned organisation are infected.

His claim is erroneous, said critics, because a significant percentage of those infected with coronavirus in Egypt are treated at their own expense. Some can’t find beds in hospitals despite their willingness to pay the costs of their treatment.

Social media activists attacked Moussa fiercely. Their posts rejected any kind of “discrimination” between Egyptian citizens and affirmed everyone’s right to have access to treatment, regardless of his or her financial position and opinion about the regime.

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Another media personality, Osama Gawish, responded to Moussa’s demand by referring him to extracts from the Egyptian Constitution which affirm that every citizen has the right to access health and integrated health care in public facilities provided by the state. His statements amount to a “professional and media crime”, stressed Gawish, and require legal action to be taken against Moussa. The activist added that by calling for sick people to be abandoned to the virus, Moussa has “renounced his humanity” in the middle of a global pandemic.

“The current Constitution criminalises the blocking of treatment to anyone in an emergency situation that endangers his or her life,” he explained. “It is the right of any citizen, even a prisoner, an opposition figure or a dissenter to receive treatment, as everyone should have access to health care.”

Another social media activist asked if “those tyrants” aren’t afraid of catching a far worse disease than the coronavirus and then not being able to find a bed or a hospital to be treated in. “Treatment is a human right that has nothing to do with politics or hate. When will you raise your human and moral standards?”

Yet another activist suggested that legal proceedings against Moussa should be started in a European country. “I suggest Belgium because they have the power to try this kind of people.”

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