Egypt said it will start arrangements to bring back home Egyptian citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan. The cabinet ordered a special jet to return the expats city from the epicentre of the deadly Coronoavirus.
In an official statement on Thursday, the Egyptian cabinet said Egypt's ambassador in China has obtained the necessary approval from Chinese authorities to start arrangements to bring back home Egyptian citizens from Wuhan city as per their request.
"The Egyptian prime minister asked civil aviation authorities to provide a plane, with medical teams and equipment on board, to accompany Egyptian passengers, as a precaution against the spread of the deadly virus.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly held a meeting on Thursday with Health Minister Hala Zayed, who said her ministry is currently preparing a medical quarantine for Egyptians returning from Wuhan, putting into consideration they be accommodated and monitored for 14 days (the incubation period of the virus).
The cabinet called on Egyptians seeking to return from Wuhan to communicate with the Egyptian Embassy on [email protected] or via the phone on 010 6532 2541 from China.
Madbouly "thanked the Chinese authorities for their approval and cooperation to facilitate the return of Egyptian citizens, expressing Egypt's support for China's efforts to combat the virus on behalf of the world," the cabinet statement said.
On Thursday, Egypt's national carrier EgyptAir said it is suspending flights to and from China as of February due to the outbreak of Coronavirus in the East Asian country.
In an official statement, EgyptAir said it is suspending flights to the Chinese city of Hangzhou effective 1 February, and Beijing and Guangzhou starting 4 February, until further notice.
EgyptAir said it has adopted the measure to maintain the safety and health of travellers and flight crews.
The company added it is committed to returning Chinese tourist groups currently in Egypt, and that the last group is set to leave the country on 4 February.
EgyptAir operates a daily flight to Guangzhou, and three weekly flights to Beijing and Hangzhou.
The statement added that the civil aviation ministry and EgyptAir are following developments on the matter to determine when flights will be resumed.
EgyptAir is joining a list of global airliners in the suspension or scaling back of flights to and from China, including British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, Air India, IndiGo, Lufthansa and Finnair.
The epidemic has killed at least 170 people in China, with thousands infected worldwide. China has started quarantining hundreds of citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the disease.