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Egypt receives 4,000 visitors in first week of July

The new Sphinx International Airport in Giza governorate, Egypt, seen in an image uploaded October 12, 2018 [mahmouedgamal44 / Twitter]
The Sphinx International Airport in Egypt on 12 October 2018 [mahmouedgamal44 / Twitter]

Egypt's tourist hot spots along the Red Sea have reported receiving over 4,000 tourists in the first week of July.

The government restarted international flights on 1 July after halting air traffic for three months as part of measures to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

Domestic flights have continued throughout the pandemic, albeit operating at 50 per cent capacity.

Tourists arrived from Ukraine, Russia, Belgium, Germany, Belarus and Switzerland, according to the state-run Al-Ahram.

Egypt's tourist industry is a vital source of income and has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The percentage of income tourism accounts for ranges from five per cent, the figure given by the government, up to 15 per cent, the highest figure given by analysts.

Tourists are allowed to visit South Sinai including Sharm El-Sheikh, the Red Sea governorate where Hurghada is located and Marsa Matrouh on the Mediterranean coast.

Hotels across the country have been allowed to open at a reduced occupancy rate if they pass various hygiene and safety protocols.

Major attractions have reopened, including the pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian museum.

READ: Egypt charges student with sex crimes in case that stoked debate

At the end of June Egypt pressed ahead with measures to reopen cafes and restaurants with a 25 per cent occupancy limit.

However, the decision was criticised for being too hasty amid concerns that the pandemic in Egypt was not under control.

The medical union has warned that the health care system is close to collapse after years of lack of government funding and inadequate protection for medical staff throughout the pandemic.

Officially Egypt has 77,279 cases, 3,489 deaths and 21,718 recoveries though this is likely to be an underestimation due to the government's desire to be seen as having the pandemic under control.

In March, Doctor Aalaa Shaaban Hamida was reported to national security by her boss and accused of causing fear and panic after a nurse working in her department at El-Shatby General Hospital used her phone to report a covid case to the Health Ministry.

At least ten doctors and six journalists have been detained since the virus first appeared in Egypt.

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