Egypt has repatriated 12,000 citizens in almost two weeks, says aviation ministry source

Ahram Online , Friday 15 May 2020

Repatriated Egyptians
Repatriated Egyptians arriving at Cairo University dormitories where they will be quarantined for 14 days (Photo: Ministry of Emigration)

Egypt has repatriated around 12,000 stranded Egyptians from different countries since late April, an aviation ministry source told Al-Ahram on Friday.

Seventy flights arranged by EgyptAir and Air Cairo airlines brought Egyptian nationals back to their country amid the coronavirus pandemic, the source said, adding that flights will not stop "until the last Egyptian stranded abroad is repatriated."

The flights landed at Cairo and Marsa Alam airports, with citizens medically examined in arrival halls as soon as the planes landed before being sent to quarantine facilities, according to the source.

Egypt sent flights to the US, Canada, France, Germany, England, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Iraq, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Chad, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.

The source said precautionary measures at Egyptian airports included leaving safe distance between people in queues and waiting areas as well as putting social distancing floor signs.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Wednesday that the number of returnees is expected to reach over 16,000 Egyptians.

According to Madbouly, the number of Egyptian nationals stuck overseas amid lockdowns caused by the global pandemic is “very large” when compared to nationals of other countries.

He asserted that authorities are working to prepare accommodation venues and medical measures to follow up on the conditions of returnees, who are put into mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The cabinet had said earlier that the government would cover the cost of those staying at university hostels, while those willing to spend their quarantine period at designated hotels in the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam will have to pay for their stay.

Egypt is hoping to bring back all stranded Egyptians before the Islamic Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which begins on 23 May and follows the holy month of Ramadan.

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