The Government of Canada is banning all passenger flights from Morocco for 30 days.
Transport Canada announced the new measure on Saturday afternoon. The ban will take effect at 12:01 am on August 29, and will be in place until at least September 29.
The decision is based on the “latest public health advice” from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Transport Canada said.
“Like every other element of Canada’s COVID-19 response, border measures are based on available data, scientific evidence, and monitoring of the epidemiological situation both in Canada and internationally,” Transport Canada said.
“An increase in COVID-19 positive test results has been observed in travellers arriving in Canada from Morocco over the past month.”
All direct commercial and private passenger flights from Morocco are included in the ban. Cargo-only flights, medical transfers, and military flights will still be permitted.
Passengers flying from Morocco to Canada via an indirect route will be required to take a COVID-19 test at their last point of departure.
To “reduce operational interruptions” and “ensure aviation safety,” flights that are currently in transit from Morocco to Canada will be allowed to proceed, although travellers must take a COVID-19 test upon arrival.
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Although Morocco is much smaller than Canada geographically, the two countries have similar populations: 36.4 million and 37.5 million, respectively.
Transport Canada noted that it will be “closely monitoring” the COVID-19 situation in Morocco, and working with the country’s government to ensure that direct flights can safely resume “as soon as conditions permit.”
“Restricting flights from countries of concern is part of Canada’s general approach to the responsible and effective management of Canada’s border re-opening plan,” they said.
“Canadians are advised to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada–international travel increases the risk of exposure to, and the spread of, COVID-19 and its variants.”