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

  • 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.


Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

Updated 23 October 2020

Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

  • The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a joint statement by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt that condemns Turkish energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and numerous “provocations” that they maintain are threatening regional peace.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “fully rejected the declaration containing baseless accusations and allegations.”
During a trilateral regional summit on Wednesday in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to end its “aggressive” actions.
The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations. Greece and Cyprus have signed maritime border agreements with Egypt while dismissing a similar deal that Ankara signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based government as “legally invalid.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the declaration attacked Ankara rather than supporting peace and stability in the region. It repeated Turkey’s position that cooperation could only take place with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in governing and sharing the resources of the ethnically divided island nation.
“We will continue with determination to protect our rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean,” the ministry statement said.
The trilateral summit took place amid high tensions between nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey over maritime borders and energy rights.
In late summer, Turkey dispatched a research vessel escorted by warships to conduct seismic research in a part of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece claims as its territory, which prompted the Greek government to deploy its own warships.
Turkey pulled the research ship back to shore for several weeks for maintenance and to allow time for diplomacy but redeployed the Oruc Reis on a new energy exploration mission. A maritime announcement by Turkey says the Oruc Reis and two other ships would continue working in the area until Oct. 27.
Turkey also has had ships prospecting for oil and gas reserves in waters that Cyprus claims as its exclusive economic zone.