Naguib Sawiris

Since we’ve all been quarantining for a while now, it’s safe to say that there isn’t much we don’t notice right away. Not a photo or a meme or, as it turns out, a nation-dividing tweet.

As you may know by now, businessman Naguib Sawiris has been under fire for a few recent tweets. Sure, that isn’t exactly a new thing for Sawiris, but these two tweets have stirred talk because they delved into Coronavirus territory.

From the looks of these 2 tweets alone, it seems like Sawiris is making light of the far-reaching pandemic, saying it’s about time we got to work and mentioning how the number of Corona deaths pales in comparison to flu deaths.

To amend this misconception, though, Naguib Sawiris did a phone interview with Lamis El-Hadidy, in which he readily explained his point of view after talking about how he’s been keeping up with self-isolation.

Other than a lot of predictable economical jargon, Sawiris dived into many other points. One valid point was the unstable fate of daily wage workers, who quite literally have to work to live. With most businesses outright stopping if not delegating work from home, these workers will go off the deep end because of the nationwide quarantine.

Sawiris also added another valid point. Since most private businesses went into an economic stagnancy because of Coronavirus, the people in charge may have no choice but to cut down wages or laying their employees off. And if we don’t want that to happen, life must go on.

Other than these points and a call to import self-test kits for people quarantining at home, Sawiris’s valid points sadly came to an end.

As the interview went on, Naguib Sawiris went on to stress how life should go on so the economic wheel can keep spinning.

He suggested that factory workers could simply sleep and stay at the factory to avoid going home and possibly infecting their families. He’s also suggesting that all working Egyptians practice social distancing by keeping 3 to 4 meters away from everyone around them, something he himself practices.

Unfortunately, even if his interests are in the right place, Sawiris cannot and should not make a plea for life to go on as it was. Sure, we all know our Corona case count miraculously isn’t as high as other countries’.

If we force-stop our quarantine, however, our case count will be higher. That’s literally how the virus spike goes up. We shouldn’t be working to increase the numbers ourselves.

And here’s the thing. If our Coronavirus cases dramatically increase, this will end up costing our economy more than the current quarantine stagnancy.

This will end up affecting daily wage workers and private sector employees, two of the groups Sawiris is advocating for, much more too. Even the social distancing scenario Sawiris proposed won’t work — think about the metro stations and buses and all kinds of transportation where there simply is no place for that kind of distance.

We know we should be looking to the post-Coronavirus future. And know that Naguib Sawiris surely only had the best of intentions at heart, but that doesn’t mean we can start acting during the most dangerous of times.

Stay safe, stay home. Your safety is your best interest right now.