Morocco: Government Is Discussing Reopening of Borders


Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita has said that Morocco is considering reopening borders but added that the decision will be made when data suggest that doing so will not have devastating repercussions on the health of citizens, residents,  and tourists. 

Speaking on Monday at the House of Representatives, the Moroccan FM addressed questions related to the closure of borders and whether the government is considering a reopening in the coming weeks.

The Moroccan government announced the closure of borders on November 29, in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant as part of its anti-COVID-19 campaign.

A month later, the North African country extended the measure until January 31amid further fears over the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant. 

But the decision did not sit well with both Moroccans stranded abroad and people working in the tourism sector. Many of them have constantly lashed out at the government for the “unwarnated” and harsh measures, urging authorities to reopen borders and revive tourism and other sectors of the economy.

Addressing such demands in his statements at the House of Representatives, Bourita sought to reassure Moroccans as he argued that the government is fully aware of the repercussions of the closure of borders and is considering opening them as soon as possible.

But while the reopening of borders currently features among the top priorities of the government, he argued, the decision to actually open will only be made under specific conditions. The government’s main condition is whether opening will or not result in a dramatic surge in COVID cases, Bourita appeared to argue. 

“Morocco is monitoring the development of the epidemiological situation in countries that have opened their borders and will decide what can be done,” he said. He added that although the opening of borders is important for Morocco’s government, it is also “important to continue monitoring the development of the pandemic situation.”

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Morocco almost two years ago, extending or lifting travel bans and other COVID restrictive measures has been a staple of Moroccan policymaking. 

In March 2020, Morocco introduced a total lockdown, with border closure as part of its measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. The country then lifted the ban in July of the same year and eased other accompanying measures.

To date, Morocco has confirmed 1,101,163 COVID-19 cases, including 1,023,891 recoveries, and 15,167 deaths. Meanwhile, 23,050,802 received either their first or second dose of vaccination by January 24.