Egypt has asked Malta to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions between the two countries in a bid to revive travel, tourism and business.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry made his request to his Maltese counterpart Evarist Bartolo during a telephone conversation.

Egypt is one of 131 countries and regions on Malta’s dark red list, which has not been revised for months. Travel to and from dark red zones is banned and only permitted for essential travel in exceptional circumstances and only with prior authorisation. 

People arriving from these countries must self isolate for 14 days, reduced to 10 days from Monday, February 14.

Earlier this month Egypt reported the highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to the Egypt Independent.  

What are countries on Malta's dark-red list?

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Anguilla. Antarctica, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, ​Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Botswana, Bouvet Island, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Curacao, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Eswatini, Egypt​, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, ​Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Martinique, Mayotte, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, ​Mongolia​, ​Micronesia (country), Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Cyprus, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn, Reunion, Saint Barts, Saint Lucia, Saint Maartin (French part), Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Serbia, ​Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sint Maarten (Dutch part), Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Ukraine, ​Uganda, United States minor outlying Islands, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Virgin Islands (British), Wallis and Futuna, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

In a statement, the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs said Shoukry thanked Malta for donating COVID-19 vaccines and other medical material to Egypt.

"Minister Shoukry requested Malta to ease travel restrictions between Egypt and Malta to revive travel, tourism and business," it added.

During his call, Shoukry told Bartolo he is looking forward to visiting Malta in the coming weeks to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. 

He thanked Malta for helping to improve EU-Egypt relations and for its help towards promoting a better understanding of the Egyptian reality. 

Bartolo and Shoukry also discussed recent developments in Libya and agreed that national dialogue and the unification of institutions should continue to move towards elections.

Both ministers agreed that the electoral process should happen within an agreed legal framework reached through consensus and consultation by the House of Representatives with the High State Council. 

They agreed to promote the initiative by the Union for the Mediterranean to work with the European Union and the African Union towards a strategic plan for regional and value supply chains for European companies to nearshore part of their operations in the Mediterranean countries and Africa.

The two ministers last had bilateral discussions in September during the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.

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