Over recent days, social media in Egypt pointed to the rise in Covid-19 infections linked to the 4th El-Gouna Film Festival, an event which took place 23-30 October at the Red Sea resort town of Gouna.
Fashion designer Reem El-Adl, artist Nashwa Mustafa, rapper Wegz, and actresses Zeinab Ghareeb, Sarah Abdel Rahman and Basma are among those who attended the festival and subsequently reported testing positive for the virus.
Some artists reported about their cases on social media.
On her Facebook page, El-Adl who confirmed contracting Covid-19, writing: "Some friends tested positive and then they did a second one but tested negative. But I will isolate myself until I’m a million percent sure. We all must undergo the test as a precaution.”
Basma also confirmed, on her Facebook page 5 November, that she tested positive.
Rapper Wegz posted on his Instagram a message warning those who attended the festival: "Hey everyone. I've just tested positive for corona. I'm in Gouna and was in contact with a lot of people, so please get tested if we've seen each other in the past two weeks. Stay safe."
The light on coronavirus cases comes after director Karim El-Adl posted last week on his expectation that the number of coronavirus patients from the artistic community will increase because of El-Gouna Film Festival and the many activities in which artists were participating.
In addition, a political commentator, Timothy Kaldas, wrote on his Facebook page 6 November: "I’m seeing a growing number of people who attended the Gouna Film Festival learning they got Covid-19. If you were there, please isolate and get tested. If you test positive, please let everyone you met know so they can isolate and get tested.”
Held in the luxurious resort town of El-Gouna, established by businessman Samih Sawiris, the 4th edition of the festival had been postponed by one month over coronavirus concerns.
In July, festival organisers revealed new dates of the event (23-30 October), adding that they were preparing to hold many of its activities at outdoor venues, including the opening and closing ceremonies, amid the “challenging circumstances” of the coronavirus pandemic.
Though taking place during the pandemic, the festival took strict measures in regards to wearing masks and keeping to social distancing regulations during the events.
Highly promoted inside Egypt and internationally, the days of the festival were marked by hundreds of photos released by media showcasing stars interacting in the festival.
The organisers, however, assured that this year the festival allowed “less than half of the total capacity” at many events. In addition, the festival held numerous virtual events to allow greater online participation.
The rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the artistic community comes weeks before the opening of yet another important event, the Cairo International Film Festival, scheduled to take place in the first weeks of December.
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