Last Updated on septembre 28, 2021
Ottawa is extending its flight ban on direct arrivals of passengers from Morocco for another month to protect Canadians from further spread of COVID-19.
“To help manage the elevated risk of imported COVID-19 cases and variants of concern into Canada, we have extended the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) restricting all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from Morocco until Oct 28, 2021, at 23:59 EDT,” tweeted Transport Canada.
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Cargo-only operations, medical transfers or military flights are not included in the flight ban. Also exempt were planes already in the air at the time of the publication of the flight ban at the end of August.
Moroccans Can Still Come to Canada by Going Through a Third Country
“As an interim measure, until the NOTAM comes into effect, all travellers arriving on those flights will be required to take a test on arrival to Canada,” Transport Canada noted on its website.
Even with the flight ban, Moroccans who want to come to Canada can still travel here. They only have to stop in a third country, get a negative COVID-19 test there, and then board another flight to Canada.
“I just came from Morocco,” tweeted one traveller. “Landed at Charles de Gaulle in Paris at 11:45 took my PCR at 12:45 at the airport. Had my negative result at 1:30 p.m. and took my next flight at 3:40 p.m. for Montreal.”
In the Twitterverse, many wondered why Canada would ban direct flights but still allow Moroccans to come to Canada via a third country, a process they considered cumbersome, rather than simply test Moroccans upon their arrival in Canada.
“Why not just use government-approved labs to administer PCR tests, similar to the medical tests done during the immigration process?” asked one Twitter user. “The solution is clear as day, without having to derail thousands of people’s lives. Safety and integrity are important and can easily be achieved.”
Flight Ban Upsets Many Moroccans Who See It as Adding Costs and Travel Delays
Others are upset and claiming the Canadian government’s allowance for travellers from third countries only makes life more difficult for Moroccans wanting to come to Canada and costs them more in airfare.
“You’re not helping anything,” one person complained to Transport Canada in a tweet. “You’re just making people’s lives harder financially because of a stupid decision coming from someone … in an office. Helping would be putting rapid tests at arrival. Helping would be asking for COVID tests from authorized labs by the Canadian embassy.”
The flight ban on direct arrivals from Morocco first came into effect Aug. 29. Under that flight ban, passengers who departed from Morocco to Canada via an indirect route were required to obtain a valid COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country – other than Morocco – before continuing their journey to Canada. That requirement is still in place.
“Canada has some of the strictest travel and border measures in the world, and is prioritizing the health and safety of Canadians by continuing to take a risk-based and measured approach to re-opening its borders,” states Transport Canada.
“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. Canada continues to closely monitor the situation, and will be working closely with the government of Morocco and aviation operators to ensure appropriate procedures are put in place to enable a safe resumption of direct flights as soon as conditions permit.”