Morocco suspends air traffic due to Omicron — Analysis

Morocco has announced the suspension of all “direct” passenger flights due to the new coronavirus variant, Omicron. This measure will take effect on Monday, and be in force for at most two weeks.

On Sunday, the North African country announced a blanket ban on all incoming traffic. Referring to the “rapid spread” of the Omicron strain in Europe and Africa, the country’s authorities suspended “all direct flights”For a period of two weeks.

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It is now to “preserve the gains made by Morocco in the fight against the pandemic and protect citizens,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Experts will continue to evaluate the measure, the statement said, suggesting that it could be cut or extended.

This comes just two days after Morocco bans flights to several countries in Southern Africa. These are believed be hotspots for the new strain. The US, UK, and 27 EU member countries have also implemented similar restrictions.

The new variant, designated by the World Health Organization as ‘Omicron,’ was first detected in Botswana earlier this month, and has already spread to several EU countries, Israel, Hong Kong and to the UK. Many other countries are currently investigating the possibility of infection.

The new strain is unknown, but experts believe it may have mutated extensively to make it more compatible with humans. This raises concerns about its ability to penetrate vaccines that provide immunity.

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