Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced on Tuesday that flights repatriating Egyptian citizens stranded abroad will commence, with repatriated citizens quarantined in university hostels at state expense.
Madbouly noted that, since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Egypt has repatriated 3,500 of its citizens who were stranded abroad. This initially took place for those whose data was registered at embassies and consulates. the government organising repatriation of others who had not registered their data, once they had requested to return to Egypt.
In a meeting to address the issue of nationals stranded abroad, Madbouly stressed that the government is monitoring the situation of nationals stranded in Kuwait.
According to Cabinet spokesperson Nader Saad, Egypt will launch a total of 32 flights, or two flights a day, to bring back citizens stranded in Kuwait starting from Wednesday. In media statements on Monday evening, the spokesperson said that most of those Egyptians stranded in Kuwait are victims of swindler who gave them fake visas.
Saad added that the first two flights will be allocated to humanitarian cases, women, children, and the elderly. He added that all nationals repatriated from Kuwait will be quarantined in a number of university hostels that have been converted into isolation wards.
Early on Monday, Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior announced that its security forces had broken up a riot as Egyptian workers sought to return home. The Egyptian nationals were being held in shelters for those in violation of the state’s residency laws. The Egyptian embassy apologised for the riots, and reassured workers that repatriation flights will begin this week.
Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram affirmed that the Egyptian government does not discriminate against any citizen. She added that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has called for the repatriation of all Egyptians stranded abroad.
She added that the national committee for following up on Egyptians stranded abroad is led by Prime Minister. The committee is coordinating with the Kuwaiti authorities to repatriate about 5,300 Egyptian nationals in the coming two days.
Makram pointed out that the plan for repatriating nationals is the responsibility of the committee, not the Ministry of Immigration. The plan is being jointly undertaken by the Ministries of Health, Immigration, Foreign Affairs, and Aviation.
She said that those Egyptian nationals stranded in Qatar and Turkey are also included in the repatriation plan.
In a joint press conference with Makram on Tuesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said the state is working to provide care for stranded citizens who lost their jobs due the pandemic.
He noted that the repatriation plan prioritises citizens who were abroad by accident and subsequently stranded. Egyptians stranded in countries that have been severely affected by the pandemic, such as the GCC states, will also be prioritised.