The Cairo International Airport authorities have announced canceling a mandatory quarantine of Egyptians returning from abroad on exceptional trips organized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Authorities are insisting, instead, that passengers sign an affidavit to adhere to domestic isolation for several days to ensure they are free of coronavirus. As for international tourism in general, Cairo officials are only just now organizing a plan.
Egypt reportedly canceled the quarantine on about 450 people who arrived on three exceptional flights from Beirut recently. The country is also expected to cancel the current seven-day quarantine period for Egyptians arriving from abroad, according to the chairman of the state-owned EgyptAir Holding Company Roshdi Zakaria.
“Upon their arrival, returnees underwent a coronavirus rapid test at the airport, and those who show no symptoms were asked to spend a quarantine period at home.”
Authorities say travelers who show coronavirus symptoms will be transferred to isolation hospitals. Back in May, officials shortened the quarantine period for Egyptians arriving from abroad from 14 days to one week. And the government also agreed to cover the quarantine cost of those staying at university hostels in quarantine.
Egypt’s civil aviation ministry will operate additional special flights in the upcoming two weeks to repatriate Egyptians stranded abroad. These flights will fly to eight destinations including Beirut, Oman, Muscat, Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Baghdad and Sydney.
Meanwhile, the country has announced a “gradual resumption” of international flights for the second half of June or early July. Egyptian hotels have been operating at a reduced occupancy rate of 25 percent to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus since March.
The government said it aimed to increase the permitted occupancy rate of hotels to 50 percent in June. Tourism is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency and accounts for 5 percent of GDP.
The International Monetary Fund agreed recently on a financial package worth $5.2 billion for Egypt to help the country counter the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants, retail shops, hotels and other tourist-oriented businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.
EasyJet Holidays announced this past week the launch of Egypt holidays, which will begin from winter 2020. So far, there’s no indication on when coronavirus travel restrictions easing will go into full effect.
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly met with Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany and Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar Enaba at the start of last week to begin developing a a comprehensive plan to resume foreign tourism and aviation.