Egypt working to repatriate honeymooners stranded in Southeast Asia, others from around the world: Minister

Ahram Online , Sunday 29 Mar 2020

Hundreds of Egyptians are in stranded locations around the world, hoping to return to Egypt amid the global coronavirus pandemic

Passengers wear protective face masks upon their arrival, at Cairo International Airport (CAI) as Egypt ramps up its efforts to slow the spread the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cairo, Egypt March 19, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt is working to bring back home tens of Egyptian travelers stranded by coronavirus on honeymoons in Southeast Asia’s holiday spots, and hundreds of others in different countries around the world, Egypt’s immigration minister said.
“The priority for the time being is given to those stranded after travelling for tourism, work or those on honeymoon,” Minister Nabila Makram said in TV comments late Saturday.
Some 95 Egyptians travelling on their honeymoons are stranded in the Maldives, 80 in Bali, Indonesia, and many others in Singapore, the minister said.
The Maldives has so far recorded 17 cases of coronavirus with no deaths, while Indonesia registered 1,285 cases, with 114 deaths.
The biggest number of Egyptians stranded abroad is in the US, where an estimated 1,000 wish to return home, Makram said.
The United States has had the largest number of registered coronavirus cases after its infections count overtook those of China and Italy last week. It has recorded 123,781 cases, including 2,229 deaths.
The government is also working to repatriate Egyptian residents abroad who wish to return home, the minister said, urging all Egyptian nationals to comply with precautionary measures in the countries where they are staying, to remain safe.
Four flights were due to operate Sunday to repatriate Egyptians from the UK, Makram said. Two other flights bound for the UK and France are scheduled for Tuesday, and other flights are planned to head to Washington and Toronto.
Talks are underway with Saudi Arabia, which has also halted air traffic, to allow more exceptional flights to repatriate remaining Egyptians, the minister said.
All Egyptians brought from overseas undergo tests for the coronavirus and are asked to remain in self-isolation for 28 days, after the health ministry last week extended the period for those returning from abroad, the minister said.
Separately, the minister said Sunday than 37 Egyptians were due to return from Tunisia aboard a Tunisian airline.
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