Morocco suspends flights to UK, Germany and Netherlands

The increase in cases in the three European countries has led to the interruption of connections
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PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Boeing 737 de CN-ROP Royal Air Maroc

Following the announcement of the relaxation of measures against COVID-19 due to improved data within Moroccan borders, the situation abroad is forcing the Kingdom to cancel flights. The increase in cases in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands has prompted Morocco to cancel its connections with the three European countries indefinitely. This decision has already come into effect and was announced via the Royal Maroc airline's Twitter account, which says it is due to "the pandemic situation", without giving further details about the measure.

Although the pandemic situation in the Alawi kingdom has improved considerably in recent weeks, the Ministry of Health has warned of the risk of a new outbreak that could derail months of work. The ministry warns of "the need to avoid a possible relapse of severe and critical cases and deaths related to COVID-19, which have occurred in several European countries". The Netherlands and Germany are two of the countries that have been most seriously affected by cases of the new Delta Plus variant, which threatens to cause a new wave throughout Europe.

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PHOTO/AP - A woman wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Rabat, Morocco.

Meanwhile, the UK has reported 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 in just 24 hours. British experts say there is a significant risk that the health system will be overwhelmed if action is not taken as soon as possible. For the moment, the UK government has limited itself to recommending a third booster dose to the population, as is already being done in the vast majority of European countries. However, some believe that these measures would not be sufficient and point to the possibility of further containment, as is already being done in Moscow, where unvaccinated over-60s will have to be confined until at least 25 February.

The fundamental problem with the flight cancellations has been the large number of German, Dutch and British nationals whose flights have been cancelled, forcing them to remain in Morocco. The German Foreign Ministry has urged both Germans on Moroccan territory and Moroccan nationals within German borders to contact their travel companies. Even so, citizens are asking that some exceptional flights for work, family or urgent matters be allowed, at least for the next few days due to the short time they have had to return to their countries.

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AFP/FADEL SENNA - Moroccans wearing face masks in Rabat

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns of a 7% increase in COVID-19 cases in Europe in just one week. Although Morocco has the highest vaccination rate in Africa, Rabat wants to prevent the new variant from wreaking havoc in the country. Earlier this month, the Kingdom already suspended all flights with Russia - one of the countries hardest hit by the Delta Plus variant - according to the Russians, following a decision by the Moroccans, who declined to give details of the measure. Now, the pandemic's advance in many European countries is forcing the cancellation of connections to prevent the threat of COVID-19 from once again putting the Moroccan health system at serious risk.