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    Lack of Response From Morocco on Borders Closure Worry MREs

    t appears likely that Morocco will have different entry conditions for people arriving from the so-called green zone countries and red zone countries.

    06 Jun 2021

    Rabat - While Morocco’s epidemiological situation remains stable, Moroccans, both at-home and abroad, are becoming weary about the country’s ongoing border closure.

    June 5 marks the annual Operation Marhaba, a welcome-home initiative for Moroccans residing abroad (MREs). Rabat has not yet made any official announcements concerning the border reopening.

    Earlier this week, Morocco introduced new lockdown-easing measures, such as the reopening of public spaces, such as movie theaters and cultural centers.

    The reopening also includes public swimming pools and beaches.

    The lockdown easing gave MREs hope, waiting for the government to introduce borders-related actions.

    COVID-19 prevented millions of Moroccans from returning home to Morocco last year.

    The government closed borders in March 2020, suspending all flights from and to the country.

    The decision impacted the Marhaba operation, which welcomes home over 2.5 million Moroccans annually.

    There are currently over five million Moroccans abroad.

    The decision to close borders also impacted MREs who were in Morocco at the time of the borders closure. Thousands of Moroccans who had planned to return to their countries of residence were stranded, which resulted in frustration and anger.

    Tourists stranded in Morocco also condemned the situation. It was not until a few months after the decision that Morocco took special measures to repatriate MREs back to their residing countries.

    Tourists also benefited from the special flights that Royal Air Maroc introduced in July. With the summer around the corner, Moroccans are now concerned whether Morocco will continue to adopt strict measures regarding borders.

    Although borders remained closed, Moroccans residing abroad contributed to Morocco’s economy amid the crisis. The remittances from MREs amounted to nearly $3.3 billion (MAD 28.8 billion) in the first four months of the year..

    The epidemiological situation also ensures MREs, who find it only right to reopen borders.

    Morocco confirmed fewer COVID-19 cases compared to the last few months after the outbreak of COVID-19. As of June 3, Morocco confirmed 395 COVID-19 cases, including 372 recoveries, and five deaths.

    At the time of writing, Morocco confirmed 520,423 COVID-19 cases in total, including 508,210 recoveries, and 9165 deaths. The kingdom currently has 3,048 active cases. Despite the stable data, Morocco has yet to make an official decision regarding borders. Some countries such as France are already preparing to receive tourists by utilizing a vaccine passport.

    Starting June 9, France will receive vaccinated EU tourists. France will not require PCR tests for fully-vaccinated tourists.

    Reports recently emphasized that Morocco is reviewing the opening of borders. Still, behind closed doors, Morocco’s Scientific Committee has been in constant discussion about the best way to proceed with opening up the country to tourists and MREs alike.

    According to Moroccan press, the committee supports border reopening, as long as it comes about within a strictly established framework.

    While the Scientific Committee is welcome to explore the issue and make the suggestions, the ultimate decision to reopen the borders lies with the Moroccan government and its various ministries. Stakeholders in Morocco’s tourist sector expect an official announcement to come from the Government Council meeting on Thursday, June 10, local press reports.

    Once the borders have reopened, the Scientific Council believes that incoming persons will be subjected to different measures depending on their country of origin.

    People arriving from the so-called green zones should not have to undergo quarantine, or any other health related measures.

    People arriving from red zones will have to quarantine for 10 days in a government approved hotel. Additionally, travelers must provide a negative PCR test and a vaccination pass.

    Current regulations for returning Moroccans require a 10 day quarantine at one of the six designated hotels in Casablanca.

    As Morocco has fully-vaccinated nearly 9 million people, local press has reported that it is a positive sign pointing to the possible border reopening.

    Morocco’s successful efforts to contain the spread of the new variants of COVID-19 is another positive indication.

    Morocco has recently extended its State of Emergency until at least July 10, and maintains border closure with 54 countries.


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