Egyptian security forces have arrested a group of Chinese people after receiving reports that they were barbecuing snakes in a rented villa in Madinaty, northeast Cairo. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Chinese people’s food habits have been blamed for the virus outbreak, especially after unconfirmed reports stated that Chinese bat soup might have been the source of the virus. According to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Interior, the Chinese group, including two women, were arrested and interrogated by the police following the complaint. Nothing in Egyptian law permits the police to arrest anybody from his home for his eating habits, an Egyptian lawyer told Egypt Watch.
The five-member group was tested for coronavirus after it was revealed that the two women’s health was deteriorating, and the villa has been sanitised. The Chinese Embassy in Cairo was also notified to send a representative to attend the interrogation procedures, the statement added. As per the initial investigations, one of the two women, who rented the villa, said that what was barbecued were not snakes at all but male animal organs. She added that she bought them from an Egyptian slaughterhouse and wanted to prepare them for her Chinese friends. During the investigations, samples of the seized meat were sent to Cairo’s Veterinary Medicine Directorate to check. Later, Head of the Veterinary Medicine Directorate Sayed Eibeid said on TV that the barbecued meat was the male organs of calves and pigs. In other comments to Youm7, Eibeid said that the animal male organs are used as a sexual therapy and are regularly eaten in Egypt.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health has officially registered 536 cases of coronavirus in all of Egypt to date, and 30 deaths, but many doubt the truth of the announced figures due to the lack of widely available analyses, especially in remote governorates and rural villages. This case is not considered to be the first case of bullying in Egypt due to the novel coronavirus. Activists previously posted a video of a student from East Asia after a taxi driver ejected him from his car in the middle of the road. The student stood on the side of the road trying to hail a group van or taxi but they all refused. After the video spread Egyptians apologised to the student, who was studying at Al-Azhar. Daaarb news website said that a group of Egyptian activists visited the student and apologised to him for the bullying. The student was neither Chinese, nor infected with coronavirus, but was a victim of bullying.