AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s government is trying to convince Egyptian authorities to lift new restrictions that prevent Yemenis from traveling to Egypt.
Almost 60 Yemeni travelers who landed in Cairo on Sunday were denied entry because they lacked a medical certificate from an Egyptian hospital, forcing them to return to Yemen’s Aden airport.
Yemenis traveling with the Yemenia airline from Yemen to Cairo airport have been required for years to carry a medical report from a Yemeni medical facility recognized by Yemen’s Health Ministry. Each traveler is issued a visa upon arrival at Cairo International Airport.
But Egyptian authorities revised the requirement over the weekend, requiring Yemeni passengers to get an authentic medical report from an Egyptian hospital to enter the country.
Social media videos showed scores of men, women, and children with their bags stranded at Cairo airport, including sick people.
Yemenia officials said that the airline was notified of the new regulations by Egyptian authorities after Yemenia flight 601 left Aden airport for Cairo.
Another group of Yemenis was reportedly stranded at Cairo International Airport on Monday after failing to provide authentic copies of their medical reports from Egyptian hospitals.
Yemeni travel agencies said they were obliged to postpone some of their customs bookings to get a medical report, costing $45, from Egypt. A similar report from a facility in Yemen costs less than $20.
The Egyptians said that their most recent entrance or residency restrictions extended to people from a variety of nations.
At a meeting with the head of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad Al-Alimi, on Sunday in Riyadh, the Egyptian ambassador to Yemen, Ahmed Farouq, said that the rules did not target Yemenis primarily and extended to other nationalities too.
Faced with mounting public pressure to resolve the issue quickly, a Yemeni government official told Arab News that Yemen’s president would send a special envoy to Egypt to discuss the new restrictions with Egyptian officials.
Owing to easy travel rules to Egypt and collapsing health systems at home, hundreds of Yemenis go to Egypt each month to seek treatment, education, or to live.
Yemeni officials and the public have urged Egypt to continue its support for Yemenis by scrapping the rules.
Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani commended the Egyptian government for its assistance to Yemen throughout the war and asked it to continue providing services to Yemeni expatriates and newcomers to Egypt.