Egypt’s State Information Services (SIS) announced on Tuesday afternoon that the press accreditation of The Guardian’s Cairo correspondent Ruth Michaelson has been revoked.
According to SIS, the correspondent’s accreditation was revoked as a result of her recent article on the number of COVID-19 cases in Egypt which failed to meet ‘journalistic standards’.
SIS also issued a warning to New York Times correspondent Declan Walsh who had tweeted figures from a University of Toronto scientific study.
The decision by SIS came after 73 Egyptian scientists from around the world wrote a letter to the president of the University of Toronto decrying Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a clinical investigator at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGHRI).
According to the signatories, Dr. Bogoch has tweeted false claims that the number of coronavirus cases in Egypt is 19,310. These claims, which come from a study led by Dr. Bogoch, were used in an article by The Guardian and tweeted by NYT’s Walsh.
The Guardian’s report stirred debate in Egypt, with a hashtag condemning the British-based paper being among the top used in Egypt on Monday, when the report was published.
At the time of publication, Egypt’s Ministry of Health and the regional office of the World Health Organisation have reported 166 positive cases of COVID-19 and four deaths.
The Ministry reported 40 new cases on Monday and two new deaths. The latest deaths include a 72-year-old German citizen in Luxor and a 50-year-old Egyptian man in the governorate of Daqahliya. Up to 300 families are quarantined in Daqahliya, which has seen a total of two deaths to date.
Egypt has taken a number of steps to curb the spread of COVID-19, including by shutting down airports, cinemas and theatres and banning shisha in Cairo.