The death of the first Egyptian national in Saudi Arabia due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) was announced by the Ministry of Manpower on Sunday.
Mohamed Negm, 29, was buried on Sunday and his wife and nine-month-old child also tested positive for the coronavirus, the ministry said. The pair has been quarantined at a hotel in Mecca to receive the necessary medical treatment.
Negm who worked as a medical representative at a pharmaceutical company is the third Egyptian expat to die abroad of the coronavirus. Two Egyptians died earlier this month in Italy.
Saudi Arabia has adopted strict measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The steps include halting international flights and imposing an early curfew, starting from 3 pm in Jeddah, Riyadh and Mecca. The rest of the country is subject to curfew starting at 19:00.
At the time of this report, Saudi Arabia has recorded a total of 1,299 coronavirus cases, with 8 deaths and 66 recoveries.
Nabila Makram, Minister of State for Emmigration and Egyptians Affairs, said on Sunday that the ministry has formed a committee to receive complaints from Egyptians expats, and help stranded nationals return home.
The committee, which has already received 12,000 calls for help, works in cooperation with the ministries of health, civil aviation, and foreign affairs.
She also noted that the state is working to return tens of Egyptian travellers stranded by the coronavirus on honeymoons in Southeast Asia’s holiday spots. Makram said that priority for the time being is given to those stranded after travelling for tourism, work, or honeymoon. There are around 95 Egyptians travelling on their honeymoons stranded in the Maldives, 80 in Bali, Indonesia, and others in Singapore.
Makram added that the government is also working to repatriate Egyptian residents abroad who wish to return home. There are currently four flights scheduled to operate on Sunday to repatriate Egyptians from the UK.
Two other flights bound for the UK and France are scheduled for Tuesday, and other flights are planned to head to Washington and Toronto, she said. Makram also said that there talks underway with Saudi Arabia to allow for more flights to repatriate remaining Egyptians.
Egyptians returning from abroad must undergo a coronavirus test and remain in self-isolation for 28 days according to a recent Ministry of Health decision.