Via Arab News: Virus boon for beast: Few takers for camel products. Excerpt:
Butcher shops and restaurants have reported a decline in the sale of camel meat after Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih advised residents not to consume camel meat and milk as a preventive measure against the MERS coronavirus.
Fahad Al-Sulami, the owner of a popular restaurant, said that less people have been ordering camel meat after reports surfaced tracing the coronavirus back to the animals.
“Many restaurants and kitchens have been forced to refrain from purchasing camel meat,” he said. “This will likely lead to a decline in the price of dishes containing camel meat and camels themselves.”
Khaled Al-Balawi, a livestock trader, predicted that statements will force some cattle traders to stop dealing with camels and thus cause a 50-percent decline in prices, bringing the price of a small camel down from SR2,500 [US$666] to SR1,200 [US$320].
Abdul Rahman Albelai, a teacher who enjoys routinely eating camel meat and drinking camel milk, said his fears of getting infected with coronavirus has made him stop consuming camel derivatives.
Albelai used to eat camel products on a daily basis and regularly visited camel farms on the outskirts of Jeddah to buy fresh camel dairy.
“Customers have completely stopped buying camel meat at Saad Al-Thamali’s restaurant,” he said.
Coronavirus fears have led some to stop eating meat altogether.
“One customer said he stopped buying or eating meat temporarily because he believes that the meat may be cross contaminated,” said Al-Thamali.
“There has been much speculation about the link between the coronavirus and camels, but after the recent clear statement made by the acting health minister, customers should follow this advice in order to reduce the spread of the virus,” said Omar Lahibi, a sales manager of frozen meat products.
He said he would not only stop buying camel meat from butcher shops or restaurants, but would also avoid consuming any products with camel meat or milk.
The Jeddah Municipality recently removed more than 500 camel barns and sprayed disinfectants at their former locations as per recommendations made by a joint committee composed of several government sectors.