Egypt announces new travel restrictions at airports, entry points amid pandemic

Amr Kandil , Friday 21 Jan 2022

Egypt has announced new coronavirus-related restrictions at airports, seaports and land crossings, with the country witnessing a significant surge in daily infections and reporting the highly infectious Omicron as the dominant variant currently.

Russian tourists gather at the Egyptair check-in desk at the Domodedovo International Airport outsid
Russian tourists gather at the Egyptair check-in desk at the Domodedovo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia, Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. The Russian state aviation agency, Rosaviatsiya, has cleared eight Russian airlines to operate flights to Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh from 43 cities all across Russia. AP

Starting 22 January, Egyptian and foreign travelers to Egypt, except children below the age of 12, will require certificates of coronavirus vaccination or negative results of coronavirus tests, Acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said in a statement on Thursday.

Coronavirus tests have to be taken within 72 hours of arrival to the Egyptian ports.

A vaccination certificate has to show that the traveler had received the single-dose vaccine or the last dose of the two-shot vaccines at least 14 days before arrival, Abdel-Ghaffar noted.

Travelers will also have to show they took vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation or the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA), Abdel-Ghaffar said.

The EDA has granted emergency approval for all the coronavirus vaccines of Sinopharm, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.

If travelers are not vaccinated, they must present a negative coronavirus test from among those accredited by the Egyptian health ministry, which are PCR test or Antigen Rapid Test or ID Now test.

However, the country will not accept ID NOW COVID-19 tests from travelers coming from South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Eswatini, the minister noted.

Several countries halted travel from these countries in southern Africa, where Omicron was first reported. In December, Egypt’s flag carrier EgyptAir announced resuming flights to Johannesburg, South Africa, only two weeks after they were suspended. Egypt also announced toughening coronavirus measures in November for travelers from the aforementioned countries.

Travelers whose coronavirus tests or vaccine certificates do not conform to the established standards will have to take antigen rapid tests, Head of the Preventive Medicine Department of the health ministry Amr Qandil said on Thursday.

In case a traveler tests positive for coronavirus, they would have to self-quarantine at their hotel or residence for five days. On the sixth day, they would undergo a PCR test and will be allowed to end the quarantine in case they test negative and show no symptoms of illness.

In the event of testing positive, they will have to quarantine for another five days and leave quarantine on the sixth day without having to take another test.

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