Egypt will operate on Thursday three flights from Cairo International Airport to bring home stranded Egyptians from the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Nigeria, state-owned new agency MENA said on Wednesday.
Egypt has suspended international flights since 19 March over the coronavirus pandemic, with the exception of specially operated flights to bring home citizens stranded abroad.
The Cairo-bound UAE flight will be operated by EgyptAir and will bring home Egyptians stranded in Dubai.
The other two flights will be operated by AirCairo – one of the Civil Aviation Ministry's companies – and are scheduled to return Egyptians from Muscat and Lagos to the Red Sea city of Marsa Alam.
Egypt is set to operate several flights in the coming days to return more stranded Egyptians, who are set to be quarantined for 14 days in hotels or university dorms.
Late last month, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stated that Egypt is committed to repatriating all Egyptians stranded abroad at the earliest opportunity.
"I assure all Egyptians [stranded abroad] who are listening to me, even if our circumstances are difficult, we will not leave you. As a state, we are obligated to bring home all stranded Egyptians, who are estimated at 3,500 citizens or slightly more, as soon as possible," El-Sisi said.
The cabinet has said the state will cover the cost for those staying at university dorms, while those who want to spend their quarantine period at designated hotels in Marsa Alam will have to pay for their stay.
“The priority for Egyptians returning from abroad will be given to humanitarian cases, followed by those with expired residences or terminated contracts, then those with a final exit visa and tourists,” Information Minister Osama Heikal said on Tuesday.
According to Egypt's Ministry of Emigration, Wednesday witnessed the arrival to Cairo of 190 Egyptians stranded in Kuwait, in addition to 151 Egyptians stranded in Baghdad to Marsa Alam through two special flights.
On Tuesday, Cairo and Marsa Alam airports received a number of special flights that were transporting home 921 Egyptians who had been stranded in Kuwait, Sudan, Iraq and Tanzania.