Morocco suspends all incoming flights over Omicron News

Morocco suspends all incoming flights over Omicron  News

The government committee says the decision was made due to the rapid spread of the new variant “in Europe and Africa”.

Morocco said it will halt incoming passenger flights for two weeks as concern grows about a new, highly variable type of coronavirus called Omicron.

A government committee tasked with overseeing the country’s response to COVID-19 said in a statement on Sunday that the measure will take effect from 11:59 p.m. (22:59 GMT) on Monday and will be evaluated regularly to make “adjustments if necessary.”

“The decision was taken due to the rapid spread of the new COVID variant, Omicron, specifically in Europe and Africa, and in order … to protect the health of Moroccan citizens,” the statement read.

The announcement came hours after Israel announced that it would close its borders to foreign tourists from Sunday evening over Omicron.

The variant was first detected in South Africa, with cases reported in several countries, prompting countries to re-impose travel restrictions that many hoped were a thing of the past.

Morocco, whose economy is largely dependent on tourism, announced on Friday an entry ban for travelers from South Africa and six other African countries.

It had already decided to suspend flights to and from France, amid a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus infections in Europe.

France has the largest Moroccan expatriate community in the world, with more than a million Moroccans living in the European Union member country.

In October, Morocco said it would suspend flights to and from Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Russia due to concerns about coronavirus trends in those countries.

Morocco has officially recorded about 950,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 14,700 deaths.

Earlier this month, the North African kingdom lifted a nighttime curfew imposed months ago to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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