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The New Arab

Evacuated Egyptians ordered to pay for compulsory coronavirus quarantine at 5-star airport hotel

Social media videos showed angry Egyptian travellers protesting the new policy [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 April, 2020

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Egyptians who were evacuated from abroad were angered by authorities' orders to self-quarantine at a five-star Cairo airport hotel at their expense.
Egypt on Tuesday required citizens evacuated from abroad to be quarantined at a Cairo airport hotel at their own expense, The New Arab's Arabic-language website reported, eliciting anger and opposition from Egyptian travellers upon their return home.

In the latest of Egypt's measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, Cairo International Airport authorities told returning Egyptians to self-quarantine for 14 days at Le Meridien, the airport's five-star hotel and pay for it themselves. The stay would cost the travellers about 2,000 Egyptian pounds ($126) per night.

This follows a decision by Egypt's civil aviation ministry to require Egyptians boarding Tuesday repatriation flights from London and Paris to sign a declaration form that states they will self-quarantine at their own expense as a condition of return.

An Egyptian student's Tuesday Facebook Live broadcast showed a crowd of weary and furious Egyptians returning from London stuck in Cairo International Airport, some shouting at staff.

The student said she ended up quarantined at the Meridian in a Facebook post, adding that authorities agreed to cover the costs for returning Egyptians' stay at the hotel after the travellers refused to foot the bill.

A Youtube video posted on Monday purported to show Egyptian travellers returning from Kuwait demonstrating and chanting "I won't go into quarantine" at Cairo's airport after authorities ordered the same hotel quarantine policy.

The passengers coming from Kuwait said they were not notified of the decision in advance.

Airport authorities decided to allow the protesting travellers to enter the country after conducting blood samples to ensure they did not carry COVID-19.

Nader Saad, spokesperson for Egypt's cabinet, criticised the travellers' demonstrations during a television interview, stating: "This is irresponsible behaviour, because all citizens are required to abandon selfishness and narrow-mindedness."

Saad said the group coming from Kuwait will be subjected to domestic isolation, with medical teams possessing their phone numbers and addresses routinely following up on them.

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