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Updates on Safety and Security in Egypt

phot of a desert in Egypt

"Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the third most populous country in Africa, behind Nigeria and Ethiopia. Most of the country is desert, so about 95% of the population is concentrated in a narrow strip of fertile land along the Nile River, which represents only about 5% of Egypt’s land area. Egypt’s rapid population growth – 46% between 1994 and 2014 – stresses limited natural resources, jobs, housing, sanitation, education, and health care."
(Source: The World Factbook)

On Tuesday, July 25, 2017, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued the following travel advice regarding traveling to Egypt.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

• the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

• the Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq; however, we advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh;

• the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions, excluding the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh (as shown on the map).

On July 14, 2017, two foreign tourists were killed and several others injured following a knife attack at beach resorts in Hurghada. The attacker was arrested and Egyptian authorities are carrying out investigations.

The Egyptian authorities have announced the suspension of diplomatic relations with Qatar. All air and sea points of entry between Egypt and Qatar have been closed. If you have a query relating to your travel plans you should contact your airline or tour operator.

There’s a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation. The UK government has implemented additional security measures in several countries, including Egypt. Direct flights continue to depart to the UK from Egypt (except from Sharm el Sheikh). You should co-operate fully with security officials. For more information about how this may affect your flight, including if you’re transiting through Egypt on the way to the UK, read this guidance page and contact your airline or travel company if you have further questions.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attacks targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt. On May 26, 2017, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Minya province, upper Egypt killing 30 people. Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack.

On April 9, 2017 (Palm Sunday), explosions occurred in Mar Girgis Church in Tanta and St Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, killing at least 44 people. Daesh claimed responsibility for these attacks. On April 9, 2017, President Sisi announced a 3-month state of emergency.

You should remain vigilant at all times and follow the advice of local security officials, including in and around religious sites and during religious festivals (including the holy month of Ramadan) when terrorist groups sometimes call for attacks. Take extra care over local holiday weekends, as some terrorist attacks have occurred during these times.

For U.S. Travelers

The following information is from the U.S. Department of State:

Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan covers you when you are outside of the United States.
We cannot pay your medical bills.
U.S. Medicare does not pay overseas.
Doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment for health services.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation, since medical transport out of the country can be prohibitively expensive or logistically impossible.

Medical Care: It is limited and well below U.S. standards.

Emergency and intensive care facilities are limited. Most Nile cruise boats do not have a ship's doctor, but some employ a medical practitioner of uncertain qualification. Hospital facilities in Luxor and Aswan are inadequate, and they are nonexistent at most other ports-of-call. The Egyptian ambulance service hotline is 123. Although availability of ambulances is improving, getting them through Cairo traffic can be very challenging.
Beaches on the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts are generally unpolluted. However, persons who swim in the Nile or its canals, walk barefoot in stagnant water, or drink untreated water are at risk of exposure to bacterial and other infections and the parasitic disease schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
It is generally safe to eat freshly prepared cooked food in hotels, on Nile cruise boats, and in mainstream restaurants. When selecting a restaurant, select a clean and reputable place, eat only freshly prepared, cooked foods, avoid all uncooked food including raw fruits and vegetables. Tap water in many locations is not potable. It is best to drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Well-known brands of bottled beverages are generally considered to be safe if the seal is intact.

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