Guardian journalist forced to leave Egypt after reporting on coronavirus


The Guardian journalist Ruth Michaelson was forced to leave Egypt by authorities after she reported on a scientific study that said Egypt was likely to have many more coronavirus cases than have been officially confirmed.

Michaelson has lived in and reported from Egypt since 2014. She was advised last week by western diplomats that the country’s security services wanted her to leave immediately. Her press accreditation was revoked and she was asked to attend a meeting with authorities about her visa status.

On 15 March, Michaelson reported on research by infectious disease specialists from the University of Toronto, as well as public health data and news stories that pointed to Egypt having a higher rate of coronavirus cases than the number confirmed by the government.

The day after the story was published, Michaelson was called to a three-and-a-half hour meeting with officials where she says she and another journalist who had tweeted about the research were accused of misreporting an unreliable study and spreading panic.

The Egyptian officials demanded the story be retracted or that the Guardian publish an official apology.