COVID-19 in Egypt: Panic among villagers due to attack of fruit bats

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Sat, 18 Apr 2020 - 12:10 GMT

A man holds a killed bat in the village of Al Hazaneyah- Egypt Today/ Ibrahim Salem

A man holds a killed bat in the village of Al Hazaneyah- Egypt Today/ Ibrahim Salem

CAIRO- 18 April 2020: Panic spread among the residents of Al Hazaneyah village in Shibin Al Qanater, Al Qalyubia Governorate [Egypt’s Delta], after a group of fruit bats attacked the villagers amid the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COBDI-19) pandemic.

When the local residents found a group of bats out of an abandoned under-construction building on Friday, they called the police and the officials of the city, while other residents set fire to cool with some chill to kill the bats by heavy smoke.

Although some bast were killed, others managed to escape as the 3-story building has no windows or doors.

“The building was owned by a deceased man but when his heirs wanted to sell it, they set fire to cool with chills to kill the bats,” Sayed Gad, an eye-witness told “Al-Hekaya” talk show on MBC channel adding “some bats were killed but others escaped.”

The bats moved from an old building that collapsed due to heavy rains in March to the under-construction building, he continued.

“Only 100 bats were eliminated, but there are large numbers that have not been killed due to the difficulty to control it [ the situation] because there are no windows and doors can be closed,” said Osama El-Desouky, head of Shibin Al Qanatir Municipality.

He added that date nuts [Ajwa] with lannate poison will be used to kill the bats inside the building, noting that this species of the bats prefer Ajwa.

Mayor of Shibin Al Qanatir city Gharib Ahmed Ali said in a statement that the city immediately contacted the Veterinary Medicine office in the city, he added that some bats returned to the building when the smoke cleared.

The Mayor also stated that some officials were tasked to count all abandoned buildings in the city to eradicate all bats.

“There are no vampire bats in Egypt or in the Arab world. Bats do not attack humans and if people saw bats, they have to call the concerned bodies to eradicate them properly,” Member of the Pests Control Authority at the Ministry of Agriculture Ahmed Rizk told “DMC Evening” talk show on Friday.

In another interview with “Every Day” talk show on ON T.V. Rizk said that this species of the bats could be a carrier of the coronavirus, adding “but we are not sure of that yet. So far, the virus has not been isolated from these bats [to analyze and test it]."

Egypt’s Ministry of Health announced Friday recording 171 new coronavirus cases, while nine people died from the virus.

This upped the total number of confirmed cases in Egypt to 2,844 and deaths to 205, Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.

He added that the number of coronavirus cases whose tests turned from positive to negative increased to 891, including 646 people who recovered from the virus.

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