Egyptian authorities have refused to receive a Qatar-chartered Spanish airplane transporting stranded Egyptians from Doha, a source at the Qatari Foreign Ministry said today.
The source told Al Jazeera that the Qatari authorities had hired a Spanish plane on Friday, adding that Egyptian authorities had refused "to receive the carrier before take off, claiming that all the international air traffic at Cairo airport had stopped as a precautionary measure to fight the coronavirus."
Al Jazeera recently reported that hundreds of stranded Egyptian workers in Qatar had been demanding authorities in Cairo and Doha secure their return home, referring to the "special flights which had recently transported Egyptians from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait."
Social media activists recently 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 criticised the fact that a number of Egyptian flights in Europe and the Gulf were still operating to return Egyptians stranded there.
The activists hailed Qatar for its "humanitarian stance in trying to transport stranded Egyptians at no cost."
So far, at least 1,330,461 people worldwide have contracted the coronavirus, of whom more than 73,871 have died; 277,707 have recovered, according to the US' Worldometers. The World Health Organisation has declared the crisis to be a pandemic.