Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox in Egypt on Thursday was quoted as saying that the vast majority of Copts do not eat pork meat. According to him, most of the swine flesh in Egypt is being consumed by non-Muslims tourists. Pope Shenouda added that, in any case, health experts concluded that the consumption of pork meat is not related to the infection of the swine flu virus.
He made these comments one day after the Egyptian authorities started to slaughter the roughly 250,000 pigs in the country. Pope Shenouda backed the government's step, saying the state "acts in the right way" in handling the swine flu file. He mentioned that a few days ago he had a meeting with Egypt's Health Minister Hatem el-Gabaly and they decided that people should understand the risks from the new lethal strain.
Pope Shenouda called on Egyptian farmers to adhere to the government's instructions and take extra measures to avoid the spread of the swine flu epidemic.
So far, Egyptian authorities reported no cases of swine flu infections in the country.