Travelers entering Egypt at any of four airports in the Red Sea governorate and South Sinai can take a coronavirus test upon arrival, which would exempt them from submitting negative PCR test results taken before they boarded their flights.
The four airports are the Sharm El-Sheikh and Taba airports in South Sinai, and the Hurghada and Marsa Alam airports in the Red Sea governorate, according to a statement by the Egyptian civil aviation ministry.
Passengers arriving at these airports can take the coronavirus test for $30 if they do not already have their own PCR test result, the statement said, adding that the decision goes into effect on 1 September.
Earlier this month, the Egyptian authorities decided that incoming travelers must submit negative PCR test results at their port of entry, due to increasing coronavirus infections in some countries. The tests must have been taken no more than 72 hours before the arrival date.
Children under six are exempted from the decision, the ministry said in an earlier statement.
The country's key tourism sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Egypt began a gradual resumption of regular international flights last month, after having shut its airspace in March due to the pandemic.
Foreign tourists in tour groups are allowed entry into the three coastal Egyptian governorates with the lowest coronavirus infection rates in the country – South Sinai, the Red Sea, and Matrouh.
Last week, Egypt said it received 126,000 tourists since resuming international flights.
The government has so far allowed around 600 hotels that have met safety protocols to reopen at a reduced occupancy rate of 50 percent.
On Sunday, Egypt detected 230 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total infection tally to 98,727 since the outbreak mid-February, the health ministry announced. The ministry also reported 23 new deaths, bringing the total deaths from the virus to 5,399.
Apparently, 80% of September bookings were cancelled following the decision to require negative PCR tests from all arrivals after 1st Sept.....and this may be the knee- jerk response. Reports are that the test will cost $30...a bargain!
It leaves a host of questions unanswered.....and I wouldn’t rely on Al Ahram to get the day of the week right.....but, if true, it’s an interesting development. Coming into effect tomorrow?? Pull the other one!
Watch this space!