Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris 'threatens suicide' over coronavirus curfew
Outspoken Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has claimed he will kill himself if special measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus are not lifted soon.
Speaking to the presenter Lamees al-Hadidi on the Al-Hadath TV channel, Sawiris said:
“let me tell you something, I will commit suicide if they extend the [curfew] period”.
The Orascom Telecom chairman continued to say that economic collapse could be avoided if Egyptian workers return to factories when the curfew ends on April 8.
“We need a revolutionary decision, regardless of the consequences… even if people get sick, they will recover,” he said.
Sawiris, who is Egypt's second richest man, cited questionable data about the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that it "only kills one per cent of patients, who are mostly elderly people.”
The business tycoon also offered some bizarre alternatives to a blanket curfew, including dividing the workforce into staff who work on odd-numbered days and even-numbered days. Sawiris also suggested that workers can sleep at factories to avoid the spread of the virus.
So far, Egypt has recorded a total of 46 deaths from the COVID-19 illness, with 710 confirmed infections.
Egyptian authorities have imposed tough measures to limit social interaction in the country of 100 million inhabitants.
Read also: Can Sisi ride out coronavirus and Egypt's crippled economy?
They have closed schools and universities, ordered cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, sporting clubs and malls to close by 7.00 pm, and told many public sector employees to avoid the workplace.
Last month, the country's religious authorities also ordered the closure of all mosques and churches and banned communal prayer gatherings for at least two weeks.
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