A member of Palestinian Hamas security forces stands outside the Kerem Shalom crossing in Rafah on Tuesday. AFP
For the first time in five months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt on Tuesday reopened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip for three days to allow hundreds of stranded Palestinian to return to their homeland.
Egypt had completely closed the border crossing point in mid-March as part of the tight precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Hamas-run Ministries of Interior and Health said that all those who will cross through Rafah crossing point to Gaza should go to quarantine centres outside the populated areas of the coastal enclave for 21 days over the COVID-19 concerns.
Palestinians prepare to leave Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, on Tuesday. AFP
On Monday evening, the Hamas-run Ministry of Interior announced that Rafah's crossing point on the borders with Egypt would open for three days from Tuesday to Thursday.
"All passengers will stay at three major quarantine centres for 21 days instead of going to schools or hotels," said Eyad al-Bozzom, spokesman of the Ministry, adding that all passengers must abide by medical testing and quarantine measures.
Controlled by Egypt, the Rafah crossing is currently the only link between the Gaza Strip and the outside world, since another two crossings are tightly controlled by Israel.Indo-Asian News Service
In total, 94,078 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Egypt, of which 39,638 have recovered and 4,188 have died, including 31 on Friday, the ministry said in a statement late on Friday.
President El Sisi said, during a visit to open national projects in Port Said, that the country will prioritise vaccination for medial staff, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly.
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