Two Egyptians detained for bullying Chinese man over coronavirus

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Thursday 12 Mar 2020

Egyptian prosecutors ordered on Thursday the four-day detention pending investigation of two men for discriminating against a young Chinese man and accusing him of having the coronavirus in an incident captured in a viral video.

The footage of the incident, which took place on Tuesday, showed the driver for what appeared to be a ride-hailing company holding tissue paper over his mouth as he gave a ride to a Chinese client, while a man who filmed the video from another car laughs and tells the driver to "throw him out."

The Chinese man is later seen frantically trying to hail down cars on a busy highway, while someone is heard saying "corona, corona" and "call an ambulance" while warning people to stay away from the man.

The video has sparked outrage among Egyptian social media users.

The two men were arrested on Wednesday and face charges of committing an act that “discriminates between individuals on the basis of origin”, “spreading false news that disturbs public security and spreads terror among people,” and "disrupting traffic", the public prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Thursday.

During investigations, the diver said he dropped the Chinese off for fear of being infected by the coronavirus, and the other man said he had deleted the controversial videos from his social media account.

The prosecution said that it is committed to combating discrimination "in any form or for any reason," and urged people to adhere to good morals.

China is the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, which has so far infected over 130,000 people and killed 4,700 globally.

Egypt now has 67 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. 

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