Egyptian dad dies of COVID-19 after branding pandemic fake news on social media 

Doctors at the Sheikh Zayed hospital in Cairo intubate a patient. Egypt has reported over 10,000 Covid-19 cases so far. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 May 2020

Egyptian dad dies of COVID-19 after branding pandemic fake news on social media 

  • After contracting the virus he posted to social media admitting his mistakes, explaining the serious nature of the COVID-19, and calling on people to stay at home.
  • Mohamed Wahdan on Tuesday and will be buried in his home village of Taha Shobra

Cairo: An Egyptian dad who posted a video on social media claiming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak was fake news has died after contracting the virus. 

Tourism worker Mohamed Wahdan, 29, failed to heed World Health Organization and Egyptian Ministry of Health warnings about the global threat posed by COVID-19, dismissing it on Facebook as a story fabricated by the US to damage the Chinese economy. 

In his post on March 16, Wahdan, who lived with his wife and daughter in the Munefeya governorate north of Cairo, urged his fellow Egyptians to carry on with their lives as normal. He also criticized food hoarders and the closure of gyms while acknowledging the need to take precautionary measures against COVID-19. 

However, soon after downplaying the seriousness of the virus, he started showing symptoms and was admitted to an isolation hospital south of Cairo after testing positive for COVID-19. By that time, he had already infected his brother and father with the virus. 

Two days after being taken into hospital Wahdan’s health started to deteriorate but when he was able, he posted videos on his Facebook page admitting his mistakes, explaining the serious nature of the virus, and calling on people to stay at home. 

“I was told to stay at home and not to go out, but I didn’t take such warnings seriously as I was pursuing a false life,” he said. “Please do not take the virus lightly because it is a fatal disease that destroys every part of your body. 

“Hunger will not kill you. Do not risk your life. The disease is spreading in Egypt especially in Munefeya. Unfortunately, my siblings contracted the virus from me. Stay in your homes because this is a lethal disease. Please kindly pray for me from your hearts that I be cured soon of the virus. God bless you all.” 

In Wahdan’s last post before he died, he could barely talk. His friends announced his death on Tuesday and his funeral was held in his home village of Taha Shobra. 

On May 4, after his father had tested positive for COVID-19, Wahdan took to Facebook and said: “Please pray for my father Nady Wahdan who is currently in the chest hospital, because he has coronavirus. He is in bad shape. Please, God, help us through this. I wonder who will be next?” 

After becoming infected himself, Wahdan started posting online videos from the quarantine hospital, despite sometimes being unable to talk due to fever, to document his suffering and warn others of the dangers of the disease. In one, just before his death, he said: “I am dying.” 

A friend of Wahdan described him as an athlete and someone who always enjoyed good health. The pal, who wished to remain anonymous, told Arab News that Wahdan’s father was in hospital in the city of Shebein El-Kom and his brother, Bahaa, was receiving treatment elsewhere. He said both were in a stable condition but had not been told about Wahdan’s death. 

Mohamed Allam, vice chairman of an isolation hospital in the Egyptian city of Matrouh, said the fear and panic Wahdan had shown in some of his posts, were due to the constant pain and fever he had been experiencing. 

On Facebook, Allam said: “This does not necessarily happen to everyone. In a few cases the pain is extreme, and the fever goes on for days causing much more pain in the body and affecting a patient’s state of mind. Panic in such cases will not make things any better. 

“No one should face the beginning of the disease while in a state of surrender thinking that they will eventually die. Only God knows when we will die. There are very high rates of recovery. Of course, the disease has defeated some people but still, they are few.”

LIVE: Middle East returns to normal life amid strict COVID-19 measures 

Updated 2 min 1 sec ago

LIVE: Middle East returns to normal life amid strict COVID-19 measures 

DUBAI: Efforts to return life gradually back to some kind of normality in parts of the Middle East continue, as governments get ready to reopen borders and airlines take bookings for flights. 
Tunisia said it will open its sea, land and air borders on June 27 in the hope of rescuing its tourism industry as the coronavirus pandemic comes under control.
Emirates airline also announced that it was taking bookings for flights from Dubai to 12 Arab countries from the start of July. Emirates began operating scheduled flight services to nine destinations around the world from May 21, including London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s commercial complexes, hotels, cafes and museums reopened their doors to customers on Monday after closing for two-and-a-half months. 

June 2, Tuesday (GMT Times)

09:20 - The number of coronavirus deaths in Britain is close to 50,000, Reuters reported.

09:07 – Hong Kong will extend restrictions on foreign visitors by another three months and an eight-person limit on group gatherings by two weeks, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Tuesday.
Both measures were due to expire later in June.
Travellers to Hong Kong need to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine period.

08:45 – 12,739 people died from coronavirus in England and Wales as of May 22, the Office for National Statistics said.

08:16 – Senegal has postponed the restart of schools until further notice after several teachers tested positive for the new coronavirus, the education ministry said late on Monday.

07:51 – Russia has confirmed 8,863 coronavirus cases and 182 deaths in the past 24 hours.

07:02 – A Wuhan doctor who worked with coronavirus whistleblower Li Wenliang died of the virus last week, state media reported Tuesday, becoming China's first COVID-19 fatality in weeks.
07:00 Paris gets some of its pre-lockdown life back as cafes and restaurants partially reopen Tuesday.
06:51 – The global coronavirus death toll has topped 375,000, according to AFP tally.

06:45 – The first Rohingya refugee died from coronavirus in Bangladesh, an official said.

05:59Egypt has sanitized prisons and carried out tests on prisoners across the country after banning visits to help curb the spread of coronavirus, local daily Egypt Today reported.

05:50 – A cluster of nine coronavirus cases raised concerns in Hong Kong over renewed local transmission in a city that has been one of the most successful in keeping the pandemic under control. 

05:18 – The United States on Monday recorded 743 new coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, bringing its total to 105,099 since the global pandemic began.