Egypt’s tourism seen losing $1 billion a month due to coronavirus – minister

Egypt’s tourism sector is expected to incur losses up to $1 billion per month after the suspension of all international flights to control the spread of the coronavirus, minister of tourism and antiquities said Monday.

Khaled El-Anany said at a press conference that the decision to suspend flights to and from all Egyptian airports was taken as “the health of Egyptians is more important.”.

The minister explained that the coronavirus cases in Egypt surged as a result of contacts with foreigners.

While suspending flights until 31 March, Egypt’s ministry of tourism and antiquities plans to sterlise hotels to ensure that “none of Egypt’s guests contracts the virus or an infected person enters the country.”, Ahram Online cited El-Anany as saying.

When the coronavirus crisis recedes, Egypt plans to revive the sector, the minister said, pointing to the anticipated opening of several tourist attractions, most importantly the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Besides halting flights to and from the country from 19 to 31 March, Egypt decided to reduce the presence of public sector employees in their offices as part of plans to fight the spread of the flu-like virus.

On Saturday, Egypt shut schools and universities for 15 days and major big gatherings have been banned.

Egypt has so far reported 170 coronavirus cases, with four deaths, according to the health ministry’s latest statement late Monday.