Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Mohammad Manar Enabah on Monday explained that the government set the suspension of flights at Thursday up until March 31 to provide a chance to evacuate citizens to and from Egypt, so that people who wish to return have a chance to fly back.
During a Monday press conference Enabah said that Egypt is not the only country taking this measure. The decision to shutdown airports is part of the country’s precautionary measures against the coronavirus, he added.
Enabah stated that this decision was not made overnight, and there is a convened committee that reviews matters.
Regarding company losses he said that though they are heavy, the health of Egyptian citizens matters more than money.
During a press conference on Monday, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that during the next two weeks all hotels and tourism establishments will be required to carry out a sterilization and disinfection campaign.
“We have to get prepared when flights return to receive tourists,” he said.
“We as a government are working for one purpose which is to ensure the good health of Egyptian citizens. We know that the decisions are tough and not easy, and we know that there are big losses for many sectors, including the national airline (EgyptAir), whose losses may reach LE2.25 billion. The tourism sector will also have losses,” Madbouly continued.
Tourism is a vital sector in Egypt, with revenues having risen to a record high of $US 12.57 billion in the financial year that ended last July.
In addition to suspending flights, Egypt has also moved to close down schools and universities across the country for two weeks, has shut down sports centers and gyms and banned cafes from serving Shisha.
Egypt had confirmed 166 cases of the virus as of Monday and four deaths.