Egyptians stranded in Qatar protest outside their country’s embassy, calling for going home

Egyptian expatriates stranded in Qatar due to coronavirus outbreak have protested outside their country’s embassy, calling upon their government to facilitate their return home. However, no one of the protesters was arrested.

More than a hundred of Egyptian expatriates stranded in Doha since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic gathered on Sunday, 31 May 2020 outside their country’s embassy in Qatar calling upon their government to help them go back home.

The Egyptian workers who had lost their jobs due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, have been waiting for more than two months without receiving any response from their government.

According to Al Jazeera,  citing a source in the Qatari Foreign Ministry, the Egyptian authorities early April refused to receive a Qatar-chartered Spanish airplane transporting stranded Egyptians from Doha.

The source told Al Jazeera that the Qatari authorities had hired a Spanish plane, adding that Egyptian authorities had refused “to receive the carrier before taking off, claiming that all the international air traffic at Cairo airport had stopped as a precautionary measure to fight the coronavirus.”

Hundreds of stranded Egyptian workers in Qatar had been demanding authorities in Cairo and Doha to secure their return home, referring to the “special flights which had recently transported Egyptians from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,” according to Al Jazeera.

Social media activists then launched a campaign attacking the Egyptian regime for what they described as its refusal “to receive stranded citizens in Doha who are facing a critical humanitarian situation”.

They also criticized the fact that a number of Egyptian flights in Europe and the Gulf were still operating to return Egyptians stranded there.

Meanwhile, the activists hailed Qatar for its “humanitarian stance in trying to transport stranded Egyptians at no cost.”

Qatar had banned travelers from Egypt over coronavirus fears. Egypt had reported its first coronavirus case on February 14, saying the infected person was a foreign national.

The authorities in Qatar in March temporarily banned all arrivals from Egypt, except Qatari citizens, over fears of the spread of deadly coronavirus.

“As a public health measure, the State of Qatar has imposed a temporary entrance restriction to its territories on all those who are coming from Egypt through intermediate points,” Al Jazeera reported, citing the Government Communications Office of Qatar, which added “The measure is temporary due to the spread of COVID-19”.

Highest daily rise in cases, deaths ever

Egypt reported today, Sunday, 31 May, the highest single day rise in coronavirus cases and deaths with 1,536 new infections and 46 fatalities, the country’s health ministry announced. Sunday’s tally brought the total number of confirmed cases to 24,985, and the death toll to 959.

This is the fourth consecutive day for the country to witness a single-day record in the number of detected infections.

Figures from health ministry’s daily report revealed that 344 people fully recovered and left isolation hospitals today, which brings the total number of recoveries from the virus so far to 6,037. The number of people whose test results have turned from positive to negative, including the recoveries, has now reached 6,810.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement that the new cases were detected through the ministry’s investigation and contact tracing protocols. Until mid-June, Egypt’s nightly curfew, in place since March along with other drastic measures to curtail the spread of the outbreak, will run until 5am instead of 6pm as of Sunday, according to a decree issued by the country’s cabinet.

The curfew, which has been prolonged and shortened several times, will run from 8pm to 5pm with the suspension of all public and private transport during this period in an attempt to avoid any possible crowding. The newly announced decision marks a gradual reopening of a country heavily affected by the coronavirus’ repercussions.