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Egyptian lawmaker calls for free COVID-19 tests as Cairo accused of profiteering

The Egyptian authorities have come under heavy criticism for charging high fees for the coronavirus tests poor workers need to travel.

CAIRO — Egyptian lawmaker Samir Ghattas, an independent, called on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to facilitate free coronavirus testing during a March 16​ parliamentary session, a few days after activists accused the government of taking advantage of the crisis.

Egyptian activists denounced the government for allegedly seeking to make money off poor laborers working in the Gulf. The hashtags “saboubet corona” and “sabouba” trended for days on social media. The word “sabouba” in Egyptian slang means a “quick buck.”

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