Africa: Egypt’s Ministry of Aviation claims 12,000 citizens repatriated in two weeks

Egyptair citizens

A total of 12,000 Egyptian citizens stranded in different countries have been repatriated since late April, according to an aviation ministry source who spoke with Al-Ahram on Friday.

Seventy flights arranged by EgyptAir and Air Cairo airlines brought Egyptian nationals back to their country amid the coronavirus pandemic, the source said, adding that flights will not stop “until the last Egyptian stranded abroad is repatriated.”

The flights landed at Cairo and Marsa Alam airports, with citizens medically examined in arrival halls as soon as the planes landed before being sent to quarantine facilities, according to the source.

Egypt sent flights to the US, Canada, France, Germany, England, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Iraq, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Chad, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.

The source said precautionary measures at Egyptian airports included leaving safe distance between people in queues and waiting areas as well as putting social distancing floor signs.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Wednesday that the number of returnees is expected to reach over 16,000 Egyptians.

According to Madbouly, the number of Egyptian nationals stuck overseas amid lockdowns caused by the global pandemic is “very large” when compared to nationals of other countries.
He asserted that authorities are working to prepare accommodation venues and medical measures to follow up on the conditions of returnees, who are put into mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The cabinet had said earlier that the government would cover the cost of those staying at university hostels, while those willing to spend their quarantine period at designated hotels in the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam will have to pay for their stay.

Egypt is hoping to bring back all stranded Egyptians before the Islamic Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which begins on 23 May and follows the holy month of Ramadan.

Egypt’s Minister of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram had told TV host Amr Adib that state owned carrier, EgyptAir has previously operated 33 flights to bring back hundreds of stranded Egyptians from different countries between March 19 and March 26.

According to atqnews.com, State-owned Air Cairo flew two exceptional flights from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport to London in order to send back home tourist groups that were still in Egypt, and bring back around 300 Egyptians, who were stuck in the British capital.

Makram clarified that the ministry is currently identifying the number of Egyptians stuck in Southeast Asia to bring them back home, revealing that the number of queries and help requests communicated by stranded Egyptians worldwide is 12,120.

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