Egypt: Emotive speech masks a complicated reality
Authors: Elsheikh, D.
Egypt reacted in an unexpectedly quick and professional approach at the start of the pandemic. It preceded other European countries in applying tougher measures to tackle the global pandemic, such as closing the borders, shutting schools, closing places of worship and imposing a curfew. Yet this professionalism was undermined by several factors, such as political polarisation, a weak health system, prevailing culture and economic problems. These factors combined led to a dramatic change in the government strategy as it changed from prevention and containment strategies to relaxing the measures before reaching the peak of the disease. Despite fluctuations in government performance, it managed to adopt an empathetic tone and cut through the polarised and politicised information environment. It also succeeded in presenting a new technocratic civilian leadership, in opposition to the single leadership and security apparatus Egyptians are used to. However, while it gained important experience throughout the crisis - that may pave the way for changes in future crisis management methods - it failed to learn from other nations and remains in a parlous position dealing with COVID-19.