Skip to main content

Coronavirus: Egypt detains taxi driver who 'bullied' Chinese tourist

A man who posted the 'bullying' incident online has been arrested pending investigations

Egypt's general prosecution on Thursday ordered the pre-trial detention of two men on charges of bullying a young Chinese man for coughing during a taxi ride in Cairo amidst coronavirus fears.

The incident, which has been widely shared in an online video, involved a taxi driver who kicked out a Chinese passenger in the middle of a highway after another driver warned him that the passenger might have coronavirus.

The novel virus originated in China in December and has killed thousands of people worldwide.

The video, shared widely in Egypt, has triggered criticism of the behaviour of the two men as "racist" and "shameful".

Several Egyptian public figures posted public apologies to the Chinese national, and the Chinese ambassador in Cairo visited him in his hotel to express solidarity.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


The Ministry of Interior on Wednesday said it arrested the driver for abandoning the passenger, and the person who recorded the video for posting it on social media.

According to investigations, the driver said he dropped the passenger after noticing that he was coughing and feared coronavirus transmission.

The man who took the video was heard as saying "just throw him out", "corona", prompting other people in the street to avoid the passenger fearing infection. 

Egypt has reported 67 cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, since February. 

The outbreak in Egypt has so far been concentrated in Luxor, with most cases detected on a Nile River cruise ship

The ancient city of Luxor has been in a semi-lockdown since Monday as the health ministry continues to track potential cases to contain the spread of the virus. 

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.