Morocco will suspend inbound passenger flights for two weeks beginning Monday night due to concerns about the spread of a new, significantly mutated COVID-19 form known as Omicron, according to a government commission.
“The decision was made due to the rapid spread of the new COVID strain, Omicron, particularly in Europe and Africa, and in order… to protect the health of Moroccan nationals,” stated the committee in charge of supervising Morocco’s COVID response in a statement.
It stated that the measure will be in force for two weeks beginning Monday at 11:59 p.m. (2259 GMT) and would be examined on a regular basis to make “adjustments if necessary.”
The statement came only hours after Israel announced that it will close its borders to international tourists beginning Sunday evening in an effort to halt the spread of the Omicron variety.
The variation was discovered in South Africa, and instances were recorded in various countries, causing nations to reimpose containment restrictions that many thought were no longer necessary.
Morocco, whose economy is strongly reliant on tourism, issued a ban on tourists from South Africa and six other African countries on Friday.
It had previously decided to halt flights to and from France due to an increase in coronavirus illnesses across Europe.
With almost one million Moroccans living in the EU member state, France boasts the world’s biggest Moroccan expatriate community.
In Morocco, there are around 800,000 French nationals.
Morocco said in October that it was halting flights to and from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia owing to worries about coronavirus patterns in those countries.
Morocco has officially reported over 950,000 COVID-19 cases and over 14,500 fatalities.
The North African nation relaxed a midnight ban set months earlier to combat the spread of coronavirus earlier this month.