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Morocco: New Covid fears prompt flight suspensions

Gripped by new coronavirus fears, the authorities in Morocco on Sunday, announced the suspension of all direct passenger flights to the kingdom for two weeks starting on Monday.The suspension comes after the discovery in South Africa of a new variant of the coronavirus.

According to WHO, it will take several weeks to better understand the new variant.

“Due to the rapid spread of the new variant of the Covid-19 virus – Omicron (B.1.1.529), particularly in Europe and Africa, and in order to preserve the achievements made by Morocco in the fight against the pandemic and protect the health of citizens, it has been decided to suspend all direct passenger flights to the Kingdom of Morocco, for a period of two weeks, starting Monday, November 29, 2021 at 23:59,” the Covid Interministerial Monitoring Committee said in a statement.

An assessment of the situation will be undertaken regularly to adjust, if necessary, the requisite measures, the statement added.

The first positive cases of the new variant of the Omicron coronavirus have multiplied across the world. 

The concern pushes countries to impose travel restrictions while the world continues to isolate southern Africa.

After Belgium, Great Britain, Germany and Italy, the Czech Republic announced a first case in a Covid-19 patient hospitalized with mild symptoms.

In Amsterdam, about 60 passengers, who arrived from Johannesburg and Cape Town last Friday, were still in quarantine near the airport.

The British government was the first to suspend flights from South Africa, and announced tougher entry rules for people arriving from all over the world.

PCR tests and isolation are mandatory until the results are known, and masks are now mandatory in all shops.

Switzerland also announced that people coming from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Egypt and Malawi had to present a negative Covid test on boarding and on entering Switzerland, and to place themselves in quarantine for 10 days.

Two days before, cases had been reported in Hong Kong, in Israel on a person returning from Malawi, and in Botswana, as well as on about 20 people in South Africa.

The new variant has been classified as “worrying” by the WHO, which has however advised against travel restrictions.

The organisation believes that it will take “several weeks” to understand the virulence of the new strain.

mm Published on 01.08.2022

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