Egypt's antiquities and tourism Khaled Al-Anany (Al-Ahram)
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anany said the tourism sector's losses will reach $1 billion per month after the suspension of flights, but “the health of Egyptians is more important.”
El-Anany explained at a press conference on Monday that the decision to suspend flights to and from all Egyptian airports was taken after coronavirus cases increased as a result of contacts with foreigners.
He added the decision was taken after a series of meetings with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly aimed at adopting measures to limit the spread of the global pandemic.
El-Anany pointed out that flights will be suspended until 31 March, during which time his ministry will work on sterilising hotels to ensure that “none of Egypt’s guests contracts the virus or an infected person enters the country.”
The minister asserted that there is a plan to receive tourists after the crisis recedes, pointing to the upcoming opening of several tourist attractions, the most important of which is the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.
Besides suspending flights to and from the country from 19 to 31 March, Egypt decided to reduce the presence of public sector employees in their offices to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced on Monday.
Madbouly said that Egypt will suffer great economic losses due to the latest precautionary measures taken to prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus.
He explained during the same press conference on Monday that the losses of the aviation sector from the suspension of flights will exceed EGP 2.25 billion.
Madbouly said the state will bear these losses and that President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi instructed the government that the health and safety of citizens are “more important than anything else.”
On Saturday, Egypt closed schools and universities nationwide for 15 days and major public gatherings have been banned.
To date, Egypt has recorded 150 coronavirus cases, with three deaths.To date, Egypt has recorded 150 coronavirus cases, with three deaths.