Egypt said it would resume international flights and allow foreign tourists to some coastal cities that have been least affected by the coronavirus starting from the beginning of July, the cabinet said on Thursday.

Regular international flights will, however, continue to remain suspended until further notice, cabinet media advisor Hany Younes told Ahram Online.

The tourist governorates with the least number of infections that will open to foreign tourists and international flights are South Sinai, the Red Sea and Marsa Matrouh, the cabinet said in a statement sent to Ahram Online.

Egypt has suspended international flights on March 19 in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. It has since only allowed its airports to open to domestic, freight and special repatriation flights.

Egypt has so far allowed 155 hotels that have met safety protocols to reopen at a reduced occupancy rate to revive its key tourism sector, which has been hit hard by the virus restrictions.

The permitted occupancy rate of the reopened hotels was initially set at 25%, but was increased to 50% earlier this month.

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On Wednesday, the government announced it would exempt tourists coming on direct flights to seaside resort cities from visa fees until the end of October, the end of the summer tourism season.

Ukraine's TSN news service says Egyptian authorities recommend that tourists refrain from dining and buying drinks beyond hotel compounds or safety-certified restaurants. Tourists are also asked to contact hotel administration if they experience any coronavirus symptoms.

If tourists contract COVID-19 during their stay in Egypt, they will be provided medication and treatment at the expense of a special government fund.

Upon arrival in Egypt, foreign nationals will have to sign a document confirming they have not earlier been infected with COVID-19, have not contacted an ill person, and have not experienced corona symptoms 14 days prior to the arrival.

Those arriving from COVID-19 hotspots will have to present a negative test taken within 48 hours prior to the flight. In case no such test is available, tourists will be tested inside the airport. Test results will be ready in nearly four hours.