Egyptian police are searching for two men who taunted a Chinese tourist as he travelled in a local taxi, goading his driver to eject him from the vehicle over fears that he had the new coronavirus.
A video that circulated on social media showed the man walking frantically on a busy road after his driver had thrown him out of the vehicle. In the background, onlookers can be heard shouting “corona, corona” to warn other drivers not to take him.
The driver who forced the tourist of of his car was taken in by authorities on Wednesday. He reportedly checked himself into a hospital in Abbasiya after ejecting the passenger, who he said was “coughing forcefully”.
Footage of the incident was posted to social media by one of the men who taunted the tourist, with the accompanying caption: “detecting a coronavirus case of the ring road”.
The video sparked outrage among social media users, many of whom criticised the men’s actions.
In a bid to lift the man’s spirits, China’s ambassador to Egypt, Liao Liqiang, visited him at his hotel in Giza on Wednesday.
A video posted to social media by Chinese journalist Fayhaa Wang showed a group of Egyptians visiting the man in a gesture of solidarity. A representative from the group is seen in the video apologising to the man and presenting a bunch of flowers to him.
The spread of the novel coronavirus, which is thought to have originated in the city of Wuhan in China, has led to some xenophobic hate attacks directed at Asians.
The number of cases of novel coronavirus worldwide has crossed 110,000 people in 100 countries and territories with more than 3,800 dead.
China remains the most affected country with more than 80,000 cases, but experts have expressed hope that the outbreak has peaked.
Governments are scrambling to respond to the outbreak with countries across the Middle East, cancelling public gatherings, restricting sporting events and closing schools.