This March 19, 2020 photo, shows an empty road leading to departures at the Cairo International Airport during a travel ban due to the coronavirus outbreak, in Cairo, Egypt. Like many other places in the world, the ripples of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic could end up drowning the vulnerable in Egypt. The partial lockdown threatens the livelihoods for many of Egypt's 100 million population, one of three of whom were already living in poverty, according to government figures. (Photo: AP)
Egypt is set to repatriate citizens stranded in Greece, Serbia and Hungary with a special flight Wednesday as the country continues efforts to bring hundreds of its nationals in various countries back home amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement Saturday, Egypt’s embassy in Budapest said a special flight would depart from Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport on Wednesday, with preparations underway to organise transportation from Budapest to Belgrade.
Stranded citizens in Hungary include critical cases and university students.
The special jet is set to land in Red Sea’s Marsa Alam, a resort selected by authorities for 14-day hotel quarantine for Egyptians repatriated from abroad.
Passengers will bear the cost of flight and the two-week hotel quarantine upon arrival in Egypt, as well as the cost of transportation from Budapest to Belgrade.
The cost of the hotel quarantine would be EGP 10,500 ($666), the embassy said, despite a previous decision by the state to bear the cost of the stay after an earlier wave of debate on its cost.
Egypt is keeping its airspace open to inbound charter and regular flights arriving empty to transport outbound passengers, and to cargo and domestic flights, during a temporary suspension of air traffic since mid-March.
The number of Egyptians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus crisis has reached 3,378, according to statements by Minister of Information Osama Heikal last week.
The government is requiring returnees to sign before boarding their flights a written acknowledgement that they agree to remain quarantine.
Egypt repatriated Friday 216 Egyptian passengers from Canada. They have undergone medical checkups upon landing in Marsa Alam International Airport before being quarantined at a hotel in the city for 14 days.
The flight from Canada was the third received by the Red Sea city after two previous repatriation flights from the US.
Around 323 Egyptians will travel to Cairo from Marsa Alam on Sunday after ending their 14-day quarantine period in Marsa Alam following their return from the US at the end of March.
On Saturday, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has ordered the government to continue efforts to bring home Egyptians stranded abroad.