Egypt to bring back citizens stranded in Kuwaiti accommodation camps

Ahram Online , Monday 20 Apr 2020

People wearing protective masks wait at a bus station in Kuwait City on March 2, 2020, amid a global outbreak of the novel Coronavirus. (AFP)

Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez said Egypt is aware of the condition of Egyptians staying at accommodation camps in Kuwait, adding that Egypt will initiate communication with authorities in the Gulf country to gradually bring back home the stranded Egyptians.

Last month Kuwait granted amnesty to foreign violators of the country's residency laws from 1 to 30 April, during which time residency violators and expatriates can leave the country without being fined, according to the decree issued by Kuwait's Home Ministry.

According to non-official figures, around 5,000 Egyptians are among the 13,000 violators who are benefiting from the amnesty.

Hafez said Egypt will prioritise the repatriation of 270 women and children staying in Kuwait's accommodation camps. 

He told the media that Egyptians stranded in Kuwait are being offered assistance and their needs are being met. 

Egypt has operated six flights to Kuwait to bring back stranded Egyptians in coordination with Kuwaiti authorities. 

"The Egyptian Embassy in Kuwait is making efforts around the clock and communicating with the Egyptians and Kuwaiti authorities to overcome the problem," he added. 

"Officials from the Egyptian consulate visited the accommodation camps to inspect the conditions of the Egyptian citizens," Hafez said, 

Last week, Egypt’s Minister of State for Information Osama Heikal said the number of Egyptians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus crisis has reached 3,378. According to Heikal, foreign minister Sameh Shoukry stated in the meeting that the 3,378 Egyptians are stranded in a number of Arab, African, European and Asian countries as well as in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Shoukry added that the government defined the stranded Egyptians as "those who were in foreign countries on temporary visits, including tourists, Egyptians on business trips, and students who could not return to Egypt due to the suspension of air flights.

Since Egypt suspended air flights in mid-March, a number of Egyptians returned from the Gulf, the UK and the United States and Canada on board EgyptAir flights sent by the government. Upon their return, they were isolated in special hotels for a 14-day quarantine.

The number of Egyptian workers in Kuwait is 40,897 in the governmental sector and 451,960 in the private sector, according to Kuwaiti figures in 2018.

Egypt has so far registered 3,144 coronavirus cases and 239 fatalities since the first coronavirus case was discovered in mid-February. Over 1,000 cases were registered in the past week.

Kuwait has registered 1,995 coronavirus infections until 20 April.


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