More than 3,000 Egyptians stranded abroad are set to return to Egypt on 23 flights from Europe and Asia, reported state-media Al-Ahram on Friday.
Speaking to Al-Ahram, Cairo International Airport sources said that a total of 3,346 Egyptians will shortly be returning to Egypt on special flights from the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, China, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and Tanzania.
The move comes as Egypt’s government announced earlier this week its decision to completely remove mandatory quarantine at government and other facilities for anyone coming to Egypt from abroad. Instead, anyone returning or visiting Egypt would be required to self-isolate at home for two weeks.
The decision to abolish mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals comes less than a month after the Egyptian government reduced mandatory quarantine at various facilities to just seven days.
At the start of the outbreak, overseas arrivals were required to remain in quarantine facilities – either paid for by arrivals at hotels in Marsa Alam or paid for by the government at dormitories and other facilities elsewhere in Egypt – for at least 14 days. However, that quarantine period was reduced on 20 May 2020 to just seven days to reduce overcrowding at quarantine facilities and to allow all Egyptians who return from abroad ‘the opportunity to undergo mandatory quarantine’, before being completely abolished as of 03 June 2020.
All overseas arrivals will still be required to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test at the airport. Those who show symptoms will be transferred to quarantine hospitals for monitoring and treatment. However, it is unclear how effective these COVID-19 tests are, given that the more effective PCR tests do not yield results for at least a day.
At least 15,000 Egyptians have been repatriated from countries around the world since the start of the pandemic.
Egypt’s COVID-19 infection and death figures continue to climb, passing 30,000 infections on 05 June. At at the date of publication, Egypt’s Ministry of Health has recorded 31,115 positive COVID-19 cases, 1,166 deaths and 8,158 full recoveries.