Despite the fact that Egypt killed most of its pigs in a bizarre species-cleansing exercise that had pig owner (Christians) disraught, the country is not immune to swine fever.

There are 29 cases to date, with new cases developing daily, mostly in people returning from travel in Canada and the US.

So of course, we foreigners are a target for suspicion. So much so that I’ve a good mind to wander through the busiest mall with an Australian flag, sneezing conspiciously and sans tissue – pure naughtiness.

It’s the front page of Al-Ahram today, with a photo of members of the Opera House audience donning masks, girls in the metro with masks on, and one girl quoted as saying, “Egyptians should shop kissing when they meet with friends. The flu provides the perfect reason to change unhealthy habits.” Really. That’s just un-Egyptian.

Throwing rubbish in the street or pouring raw sewage into the ocean – slightly less healthy than kissing, don’t you think?

Personally, I’m loving the Australian response to swine flu (despite the fact we appear to be riddled with the pig cold). Australia has increased its national threat assessment level from “no worries, mate” to “she’ll be right, mate.” There is no thought of incurring the most extreme threat level of “sorry, mate, we’re canceling the barbie”.