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Thu 5 Mar 2020 02:19 PM

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'Are we going to stop living?' Naguib Sawiris hits out at coronavirus claims

One of Egypt's wealthiest businessmen says he is fed up with dramatized reactions to the global outbreak

'Are we going to stop living?' Naguib Sawiris hits out at coronavirus claims

Sawiris said the virus will lead to long-term declines in travel and tourism.

Egyptian billionaire and telco tycoon Naguib Sawiris has lashed out at the dramatized reactions to the viral coronavirus which has affected over 95,000 people in less than three months.

The executive chairman and CEO of investment conglomerate Orascom Investment Holding (OIH) said on Twitter he’s fed up with strict measures being taken to control the outbreak.

“I took a decision, I don’t want to hear or speak about the coronavirus ever again... It’s unbelievable. Are we going to stop living because we are afraid of a virus?” he said on his official Twitter account.

The tweet has garnered nearly 2,000 likes in just an hour.

In a meeting with Sawiris last week, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly suggested the formation of a crisis committee to address the global impact of the coronavirus.

Sawiris said the virus will lead to long-term declines in travel and tourism.

The coronavirus which began in China in December and has since killed 3,286 people worldwide has led to global panic.

The IMF yesterday announced its global economic growth forecast this year will fall below 2019’s 2.9% due to the virus, while EU finance ministers have been warned against recessions in Italy and France.

In the Middle East, the crisis has cost airlines up to $100 million as governments restrict travel and flights, with Saudi Arabia suspending its year-round Umrah pilgrimage over fears of the virus spreading to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Even the James Bond movies No Time To Die which was scheduled for April has now been postponed to November 2020.

Yet while the outbreak also saw stocks markets crash and experience their worst performing week since 2008, Wall Street stocks jumped 2% yesterday following Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday triumph, and the EU-wide Stoxx 600 index rose 1.2% thanks to fresh fiscal stimulus measures.

And despite the aggressive rise in cases of the virus, it continues to have a low death rate of 3.44%, with 53,689 people already recovered.

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