Cairo: A halt to flights between Kuwait and Egypt has landed hundreds of Kuwaitis studying in Egyptian universities in a quandary, days before their scheduled examinations.
Earlier this week, Kuwait announced suspending flights from 31 countries including Egypt until further notice on health grounds, prompting Egyptian authorities to stop air travel between the two countries.
Several Kuwaiti students said the abrupt moves have resulted in hardships for them while they were planning to travel to Egypt to sit for exams.
Many students told Kuwaiti newspaper Al Qabas that the decision has disrupted their plans to travel to Egypt to take their exams scheduled to begin in mid-August. They have no other options than flying aboard transit flights that take long hours or to apply for exam postponement.
“The decision to halt flights have harmed students due to its timing as it came a few days before the start of final exams in the Egyptian universities,” said Ahmed Al Shamiri, the head of the National Union for Kuwaiti students in Egypt. “Egypt has not banned the entry of Kuwaitis. It has only stopped direct flights. Students can travel via transit, which is not a familiar way of travel for Kuwaiti students,” he told Al Qabas.
Massive contacts, according to him, are being conducted by Kuwaiti official agencies including the Foreign Ministry and the Kuwaiti Embassy in Cairo in an attempt to find a solution to the students’ problems.
“The situation of students, who want to travel to Egypt, is unclear,” said Nasser Al Uteibi, the secretary-general of the National Union for Kuwaiti students said. “Their fate is still uncertain until a relevant decision is issued.
He added that some students are scheduled to start practical tests at medical schools on August 8 while post-graduate exams are due in two weeks’ time.
On Saturday, Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced banning entry of travellers from 31 “high-risk” countries on instructions from Kuwaiti health authorities.
Those countries include India, Pakistan, Egypt, and the Philippines that have large communities in Kuwait.
Other countries include Iran, China, Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Peru, Moldova, Singapore, Hong Kong, Panama, Chile and the Dominican Republic. The travel ban, which took immediate effect, was announced hours after the Kuwait International Airport partially reopened for commercial flights after a halt of nearly five months.