Regional news review – 22 May

In Greece, Ekathimerini reports concerns are mounting in Athens as Ankara continued to raise the stakes on Thursday with a series of overflights by Turkish jets above several large eastern Aegean islands, while two Turkish Coast Guard vessels harassed a Frontex boat patrolling the sea border area and a Greek fishing boat.

   Egypt Today reports that the Cabinet media center has denied as groundless reports on resuming flight movement to normal on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr. It appealed to social media users to verify their reports and adopt objectivity before publishing them.

In a separate development, the Egyptian Cabinet has approved a draft law stipulating a deduction of 1 percent of the net income of workers in all sectors of the state for a period of 12 months, starting from the first of July, to contribute to facing the economic repercussions of coronavirus.

The Daily Star in Beirut leads with the news that two towns in Lebanon went under lockdown after they recorded a surge in coronavirus cases, and as Lebanon registered its highest number of cases in a single day Thursday.

Meanwhile, LBC reports that the Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon Riad Salameh has a statement in which he announced that as of May 27, 2020, the Bank of Lebanon will start implementing the necessary measures to protect the Lebanese Pound, including providing dollars for essential food imports, as per a memorandum to be issued in coordination with the Ministry of Economy.

Malta Today carries the comments of a leading tourism figure who says caution and concern accompanying COVID-19 is all about “Project Fear”, according to Tony Zahra, president of the hoteliers’ association.

Zahra also cast doubt on the severity of the coronavirus, insisting that certain sources claimed the common flu had more of an impact than COVID-19.