Egypt decided late on Wednesday to cancel a seven-day mandatory quarantine period for Egyptians arriving from abroad that was meant to limit the spread of the croronavirus, sources told Al-Ahram Arabic.
The period was initially set at 14 days before authorities shortened it over two weeks ago to one week.
Instead of being quarantined at hotels, university dorms, or student hostels upon arriving, returnees will be required to self-quarantine at home for two weeks as a precaution against the virus.
Upon arrival, returning nationals will undergo a coronavirus rapid test at the airport, and those who show symptoms of the illness will be transferred to isolation hospitals, while those who don’t would be allowed to spend their quarantine at home.
Cairo International Airport started implementing the decision on Wednesday night when it received three flights repatriating 450 citizens from Lebanon, a source at the airport told Al-Ahram.
None of the passengers showed any symptoms of the virus and they were allowed to leave the airport to their homes where they will be required to self-quarantine.
According to Al-Ahram, the airport in the Red Sea city of Marsa Allam was late in applying the decision, sending passengers who arrived Wednesday night to designated quarantine hotels.
The airport had received Wednesday two flights from Saudi Arabia and a flight from Kuwait with a total of around 500 passengers.
Returnees were expected to be discharged from quarantine and returned to Cairo within hours as none of them showed symptoms when tested at the airport, airport sources said in the early hours of Thursday.
The government had covered the quarantine costs of those staying at university hostels. However, those who decided to spend their quarantine period at designated hotels in the city of Marsa Alam had to pay for their stay.
Egypt is mainly keeping its airspace open to cargo and domestic flights during the general flight suspension, which has been in place since March.
Egypt is still operating flights to repatriate its citizens from abroad.
Earlier this week, Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar Enaba said the government was considering resuming international flights, expecting the halt to be lifted within weeks. The date is yet to be announced.
Egypt reported Wednesday 1,079 new coronavirus cases and 36 deaths, with the number of new cases continuing to drop for a third straight day. The country’s total now stands at 28,615 cases and 1,088 deaths.