In conjunction with the breakout of Coronavirus (COVID -19) across the world, besides the consequent freezing of air traffic, most countries send flights to evacuate its citizens stranded outside the borders. Then once they arrived it provides a quarantine to check on them and isolate those infected by the disease. Like other countries, Egypt sent many flights to bring back the stranded abroad citizens. But, it was not enough, as hundreds of stranded citizens have been left behind and asked to stay where they are or pay to provide a flight bring them back!

Stranded in everywhere 

The Egyptians stranded in the Maldives; about 101 persons including 8 children, suffer from severe crisis after the hotels locked down and run out of money, however, the Egyptian government asked them to buy 133 thousand US dollars; the cost of the flight that would bring them home. The stranded called on the authorities to intervene, while they emphasized that they cannot afford this cost or stay in the Maldives, but so far, no one has heard their complaints or resolved their crisis. 

A group of Egyptians stranded in Indonesia; 95 citizens, broadcast a video message has shown complaint about their poor conditions; after they ran out of money and being incapable to afford food or the residence additionally. The stranded expressed their concerns about the lockdown of airports in Indonesia before they went back, they criticized the delay the Egyptian authorities to coordinate bring them back or even inform them about a schedule, instead they confirmed that all that they received is just a painkiller without any real solution to their situation. 

In Armenia, some students; who are studying in Yerevan universities, sent a distress message to the Egyptian government, as they said: “the universities locked down, curfew has been enforced for a month, and the money is almost running out, they want to go back to Egypt to be with their relatives in this difficult conditions”, but so far, no one has resolved their problem.

In Saudi Arabia; a stone throw from Egypt, there are 30 Egyptians stranded; the crew of “Blue Rooster” TV series, who have traveled to the Kingdom in mid-February the last to shoot the series, since then, they are stranded and couldn’t go back.

A group of Egyptians stranded in Bahrain sent a distress message to the Egyptian authorities to bring them back home, as they said that their companies were closed, they receive no wages and some of them are suffering from hunger.

Other Egyptians were stranded in Turkey after the air plan traffics shut down. A mother of two young men; stranded in Istanbul,  said that they called on the Egyptian embassy to bring them back and sent their data from 20 days, but no action has been taken so far. She added: “My two sons are in a closed room in Istanbul, as there is curfew enforced on the young people under 20 years old.”

8 Egyptians stranded in the Philippines are suffering because of failure to went back to Egypt after many attempts with the official authorities; on the top of the list the Egyptian Embassy. One of them said that he and other persons have been living for two weeks in a hotel room for $ 300 a night, he explained that they are facing difficulties with the hotel which allowed them to stay after many attempts on condition that to stay inside the room. He added that when he communicated with the Egyptian embassy, they confirmed that there are two positive cases for COVID -19 inside the embassy; they were isolated and there is no dealing with the embassy except mobile phone. He confirmed that after two weeks there is no response from any responsible authority. 

The government closes the doors of return

The Egyptian government committed several mistakes while dealing with the Egyptian stranded crisis. At first, the government required for whoever wants to return to sign a declaration of their consent to be subjected to quarantine for 14 days on their own expense in some hotels determined by the government. 

Many of the stranded have been compelled to accept this condition, but they surprised that the government wants to isolate them in expensive international hotels where the cost of one night exceeded thousands of pounds which they cannot afford. 

This decision has generated a large crisis, especially after the protest of some of the returnees from Kuwait; the majority of them are low-income workers, in Cairo International Airport against being quarantined in such expensive hotels.

The decision met with a wave of anger, as it’s not understood the secret beyond implementing the quarantine in such international hotels instead of hostels (simple hotels) affiliated to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, even in university cities that have been evacuated from students, or in the hotels of the Armed Forces scattered across the country.

After the pressure increased and the scandal spread, the president directed that Tahia Misr (Long Live Egypt) Fund, a fund affiliated to the presidency almost unsupervised, bear the cost of the quarantine for the returnees. Osama Haikal, the Minister of Information, explained that the decision is not applicable to all the returnees, it’s applicable only on who returned till now because of their ignorance of the payments of the quarantine. 

In another even; no less strange, the Egyptian authorities refused to receive a Spanish plane rented by Qatar to transfer tens of Egyptian workers stranded on its lands. The government alleged that the air traffic is suspended because of the precautionary measures of Covid-19.

However, everybody knows the real reason for the refusal to receive them is their return from Qatar that Egypt declared a boycott against it for political reasons.

The great disaster occurred a few days ago when Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly has announced to stop bringing the Egyptians back temporarily till the previous returnees are checked out; without appointing a date to bring the other strained or pay them enough money until they return.