The new coronavirus mutant Omicron which emerged in South Africa and which has been designated by the World Health Organisation as a variant of concern, has prompted Egypt’s health authorities to implement a set of cautionary measures against its reaching the country.
Egyptian Acting Minister of Health Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said the Ministry instructed to raise the degree of maximum quarantine preparation in all air, land and sea ports of Egypt, while raising the level of verification that those coming into the country are free of any possible COVID-19 infections. He stressed that Egyptian authorities are “closely monitoring everything that is published about the Omicron mutant, and are taking resolute and multiple measures to deal with it.”
On its Facebook page, the National carrier EgyptAir posted:
“Important and urgent media statement
“EGYPTAIR announces the suspension of its flights to/from Johannesburg starting Saturday the 27 November, due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus variant “Omicron,” as declared by the WHO, which urges undertaking precautionary measures.
“In this regard, EGYPTAIR calls for customers to check their bookings via contacting the call center on 1717 from any mobile or visiting the nearest EGYPTAIR sales office or travel agent.
“Meanwhile, EGYPTAIR is to apply certain precautions towards passengers coming from several countries (transit passengers) through Cairo Airport: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini.
“In case of the arrival of passengers from the stated countries, an ID NOW test will be conducted and if tested positive, the passenger will be prevented from boarding the next flight and will be returned on the same plane on which he has arrived.
“As for passengers coming from these countries by indirect flights (transit) to Cairo as their final destination, an ID NOW test will be conducted. If the result is positive, the passenger will be returned on the same flight on which he has arrived.
“However, if the test is negative, the passenger will be subject to a seven-day self-quarantine, and a PCR test will be made at the end of the quarantine period. Moreover, all passengers must sign to accept the self-quarantine procedures before boarding the flight.”
Inside Egypt, the Health Ministry stressed the importance of applying general cautionary behaviour of wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing, as the first defence against the virus; also of taking the vaccine.
Dr Abdel-Ghaffar said that the government was working to vaccinate the largest number of people, especially the vulnerable. He said that Egypt has been able in a short span of time to provide its population with 80.5 million doses of the major vaccines: Sinovac, Sinopharm, AstraZaneca, Sputnik, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna. He said that some 44.2 million persons have been vaccinated fully or partially.
The government last week decided to give a third dose of the vaccine to those who already took the first two, starting with the more vulnerable individuals including medical staff and the elderly.
The most recent daily figures reported to the Ministry of Health on 28 November 2021 amount to 931 infections and 68 deaths. The total tally is 355,767 cases and 20,305.
28 November 2021