Egypt allows coronavirus tests on arrival for tourists

Egypt allows coronavirus tests on arrival for tourists
Egypt's civil aviation authority told airlines operating out of vacation hotspots Hurghada, Sharm El-Sheikh (pictured), Marsa Alam and Taba that visitors could get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival at these international airports for $30. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 31 August 2020

Egypt allows coronavirus tests on arrival for tourists

Egypt allows coronavirus tests on arrival for tourists
  • A PCR test detects whether a person is currently infected with coronavirus
  • Egypt had decided days ago to deny entry to visitors who did not have a negative PCR test result obtained 72 hours before arrival

CAIRO: Visitors to Egypt will no longer have to produce a negative coronavirus test to enter the country after fears that tourists would cancel their holidays because of the requirement.

Instead, the country’s civil aviation authority told airlines operating out of vacation hotspots Hurghada, Sharm El-Sheikh, Marsa Alam and Taba that visitors could get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival at these international airports for $30.

A PCR test detects whether a person is currently infected with coronavirus. The aviation authority’s decision is effective from Sept. 1. 

Egypt had decided days ago to deny entry to visitors who did not have a negative PCR test result obtained 72 hours before arrival. 

This decision, according to some in the tourism sector, led to hotel cancellations by holidaymakers from Belarus and Ukraine. They attributed the cancellation to the high prices of PCR tests in these countries, especially since the cost of the test was sometimes greater than the cost of the trip.

Investors suggested adding the price of the PCR test to medical insurance policies due to its high price point, indicating that a continuation of the current situation would lead to tourists searching for alternative markets.

Mohammed Farouk, a member of an e-tourism committee, said that the PCR test requirement had already caused the cancellation of anticipated hotel reservations for Ukrainian and Belarusian tourists due to the cost of a test that ranged from $150 to $200.

He explained that the market in the two countries was cheap, and that the value of a tourist's full stay for a week was $200. It was difficult to do a PCR test that had the same value of a week-long trip, he said.

The government’s decision to allow on-arrival testing at Egyptian airports at such a low price is being seen as a suitable solution to save the tourism sector, which has already suffered for five months due to the country’s closure.


Jordan begins COVID-19 vaccines as students start to return

Jordan’s king, crown prince, and many well-known medical and media celebrities were filmed receiving the vaccination in an effort to convince skeptics of its safety. (RHCJO)
Jordan’s king, crown prince, and many well-known medical and media celebrities were filmed receiving the vaccination in an effort to convince skeptics of its safety. (RHCJO)
Updated 21 min 21 sec ago

Jordan begins COVID-19 vaccines as students start to return

Jordan’s king, crown prince, and many well-known medical and media celebrities were filmed receiving the vaccination in an effort to convince skeptics of its safety. (RHCJO)
  • Hillaleh Oweis, 92, was the first to take the vaccine in the city of Jarash
  • King Abdullah II and the crown prince have also received their vaccinations

AMMAN: Jordan has started inoculating its citizens against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and became the first country to start vaccinating refugees on its soil. 

Jordan’s king, crown prince, and many well-known medical and media celebrities were filmed receiving the vaccination in an effort to convince skeptics of its safety.

 

 

Hillaleh Oweis, 92, was the first to take the vaccine in the city of Jarash. Her daughter Eman told Arab News that her mother was initially skeptical of the vaccine but was eventually convinced of its safety and has shown no side effects.

Ziad Al-Kabashi, an Iraqi refugee in Irbid, was among the first refugees in the world to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He was prioritized for the vaccine because he suffers from chronic diseases and is considered part of the high-risk category.

Meanwhile, government spokesperson Ali Al Ayed announced the lifting of the Friday curfew but said that the daily midnight-to-sunrise curfew will remain.

Minister of Education Tayseer Nueimi said that as of Feb. 7, students from kindergarten, the third grade and the 12th grade will gradually return to classes, while other grades will continue with remote learning, with a review every two weeks.

Nadine Nimri, head of a popular campaign for the return to schools, told Arab News that an online poll of 25,000 Jordanians by the pressure group showed that the knowledge gap had widened considerably during the past 11 months of online teaching.

Nimri said: “81 percent of the families said that their children’s education has been badly affected, with many unable to connect to the government-sponsored online teaching program.”

She added: “The system is a one-way process and does not engage with students.” 

Nimri welcomed the decision to return some grades to school. “Even though it was late, the decision is a good one. Now schools need to make up for all the lost teaching days. They need to put a reasonable plan to make up what was lost before moving ahead.”

Thoqan Obeidat, a veteran educator, told Arab News that decisions to restart the second semester should be based on science, not politics or peer pressure. “We are all for the opening of schools, but this should be done only if the health situation allows.”

He added: “In the meantime, we should continue to improve online teaching until we are able to guarantee safe face-to-face education.”

Obeidat criticized the decision to rotate students from the early grades as families will have some children going back to school and others stuck at home.