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    El Othmani: Morocco Has Not Yet Decided on Reopening of Borders

    The decision to open borders depends on the epidemiological situation in Morocco and around the world.

    21 Jul 2020

    Rabat – Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani clarified on Sunday that Morocco has not taken any decision regarding the reopening of borders.

    “There are only special flights,” El Othmani said during a press conference on July 19. The head of government referenced the Royal Air Maroc (RAM) and Air Arabia flights organized since July 15 for the benefit of Moroccan citizens, residents, and their families.

    The flights also allow Moroccans with domiciles abroad and foreigners in Morocco to depart the country.

    El Othmani said that since the launch of the exceptional border reopening campaign, Royal Air Maroc has carried out 105 flights and Air Arabia has organized 76 flights. Sea trips via ferries between Morocco and Europe are also underway.

    “These trips enabled the return of 17,850 Moroccans to their homeland,” El Othmani said.

    The remarks came after Morocco’s government announced on Sunday the decision to enter the third phase of lockdown lifting to revive Morocco’s economy.

    The third phase includes relaxed restrictions on public transport, hotels, and tourism establishments. The announcement left Moroccans and foreigners alike wondering if the reopening of borders to all is on the horizon.

    The head of government explained that officials and health authorities will evaluate this third stage of lockdown lifting after a week.

    The government will then decide whether to move into another phase or wait for the COVID-19 situation to further improve.

    Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb explained during Sunday’s press conference that the decision to reopen orders does not solely rely on the evolution of the pandemic in Morocco. Rather, it also depends on the development of the epidemiological situation across the globe.

    “Nobody has an idea about the perfect timing to reopen borders, because this depends on the stability of the epidemiological situation,” he said.

    Morocco is still under a state of emergency until August 10. The state of emergency is not synonymous with lockdown but enables the Moroccan government to take any preventive measures it considers necessary to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures can include closing borders or reimposing lockdown.

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