Just as it seemed the world was truly starting to open up and the blunt instrument that is all-out flight bans were no longer required, Morocco has imposed direct flight bans from Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom citing COVID-19 infection rates for its decision to give travellers little more than 12-hours to find an alternative way home.
Moroccan authorities said on Wednesday that all direct flights would be suspended at 23:59 pm on October 20 and until further notice. Officials did not give any indication when the flight ban might be lifted.
A direct flight ban with Russia earlier this month due to its lagging vaccination rate and a recent surge in infections that has led to Moscow’s mayor ordering elderly people inside for the next four months.
Germany’s foreign ministry warned its citizens that while they could travel to Morocco through another European country for the time being, more direct flight bans “could not be ruled out – depending on Morocco’s assessment of the European COVID situation”.
Any additional flights bans were likely to be announced at “short notice” the ministry cautioned.
German citizens were advised to make independent efforts to get home as quickly as possible and not to rely on consular assistance.
Morocco has been in a state of emergency since March 1, 2020, and at the start of October, a new curfew between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am was imposed by the authorities. Direct flights between Morocco and the UK only resumed in June following suspension due to variants of concern.
Fully vaccinated travellers from Germany, the Netherlands and the UK are still permitted to travel to Morocco. Unvaccinated from these countries can also travel so long as they provide a negative PCR test certificate dated within 48 hours of travel.
According to Our World in Data, the current infection rate per million people in Morocco is just 11.19. In Germany, the rate is 135, the Netherlands is 208 and the UK is currently recording an infection rate over 600 per million.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.