MOROCCO – Morocco has announced it is suspending, until further notice, all flights to and from the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands amid rising coronavirus infections in those countries.
In a tweet, national carrier Royal Air Maroc said the move was due to the pandemic situation. It did not provide further detail.
Morocco’s Health Ministry warned Monday of the threat of a new virus surge, stressing the need to avoid possible a relapse of serious and critical cases and COVID-19-related deaths.
Recalling the continuous need for caution as the virus has still not been eradicated, the ministry called on citizens and residents to remain vigilant and avoid laxity.
It urged citizens to be more involved in the effort to continue improving the epidemiological situation, through three basic rules: engaging in the national vaccination campaign against the pandemic, taking doses of vaccine in order to avoid serious and critical cases, and complying with prevention and precautionary measures.
COVID-19 cases have been rising sharply in the Netherlands over the past two weeks and also are climbing in Germany.
The U.K. recorded almost 50,000 new infections in a single day this week. The chief executive of health care umbrella group, the NHS Confederation, said the health system risks being overwhelmed unless measures are introduced now, while the government urged millions get booster vaccine shots.
Germany’s foreign ministry urged citizens in Morocco to immediately contact their travel company due to the imminent halt in flights.
Dutch carrier Transavia said it was investigating whether it could get clearance to fly beyond the midnight cutoff “to pick up stranded passengers” from Morocco.
The World Health Organization said there was a 7% rise in new coronavirus cases across Europe last week, the only region in the world where cases increased.
Earlier this month, the Russian embassy in Rabat announced that commercial flights between the two countries had been suspended, citing a decision it had received from Moroccan authorities, but did not indicate the reason.
Morocco has Africa’s highest vaccination rate, with more than 50% of the population fully inoculated.
The government has also started administering booster vaccine shots, and said it is introducing a COVID-19 vaccine pass as a mandatory requirement for access to public venues and travel. The decision takes effect Thursday.
Overall, Morocco has registered more than 942,000 infections and 14,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to the Health Ministry.