Egypt arrests doctors, silences critics over virus outbreak

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FILE – In this June 17, 2020 file photo, a health worker wearing protective gear prepares to take swab samples from people lining up in their cars to test for the coronavirus at a drive-through COVID-19 screening center at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. Coronavirus infections are surging in the country of 100 million, threatening to overwhelm hospitals. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)

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(AP)– Egyptian security agencies have tried to stifle criticism about the handling of the coronavirus health crisis by President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi’s government.

Rights groups say at least 10 doctors and six journalists have been arrested since the virus first hit Egypt.

Other health workers say they have been warned by administrators to keep quiet or face punishment.

One foreign correspondent has fled the country, fearing arrest, and two other have been summoned for reprimand.

Since rising to power in 2013, el-Sissi has stamped out dissent, silencing critics and jailing thousands. As the swelling virus cases test Egypt’s capabilities and economy, the government has extended its crackdown.

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