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Morocco extends the state of health emergency and organises an airlift to Corsica to harvest clementines

Casablanca is the Moroccan city most affected by Covid-19 (photo: F.Dubessy)
Casablanca is the Moroccan city most affected by Covid-19 (photo: F.Dubessy)
MOROCCO. The Council of the Moroccan Government decided, on Thursday 8 October 2020 in Rabat, to extend until 10 November 2020 the state of health emergency proclaimed since mid-March 2020.

According to the CSSE of the Johns Hopkins University, on the morning of September 9, 2020, Morocco had recorded 142,953 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 2,486 deaths. The biggest peak in the number of patients has been recorded in recent days in Casablanca (50% of the country's cases are in the Casablanca-Settat region), the country's economic capital, where the curfew remains in force as well as travel restrictions. On the other hand, the vice is being served in Tangier since 6 October 2020 with extensions of openings for restaurants, cafés and local markets and the reopening of sports halls, natural parks and public parks.

At the same time, Morocco is relaxing entry measures on its territory even if the land and sea borders remain officially closed until at least 10 November 2020. Airspace is open for several destinations and special flights, notably operated by Royal Air Maroc, Air Arabia Maroc, Air France, Tunisair, Egypt Air, Transavia, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, TAP, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways are offered.

An airlift to Corsica for 902 seasonal workers

Foreign visitors with a professional invitation from a Moroccan organisation or a hotel reservation were already allowed to come to the country since 6 September 2020. The authorities are lightening the health control system. Tourists (over 11 years old) and businessmen will henceforth only have to present a negative PCR test carried out less than 72 hours ago against 48 hours before. And the serological test on arrival is no longer compulsory. A "Passenger Health Card" must be filled in, printed and signed, and handed in on arrival.

An airlift has also been set up by the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) to "save the harvest" of Corsican clementines (25 to 30,000 tonnes of annual harvest for a turnover of €70 million), as the organisation points out. It will enable 902 Moroccan seasonal agricultural workers to go, from Friday 9 October 2020, to the Isle of Beauty on board five Transavia aircraft financed, to the tune of 300 K€, by the Corsican farmers (as well as the return flights). A health protocol has been signed between the Moroccan authorities, the OFII, the prefecture of Upper Corsica, the Regional Health Authority (ARS) of Corsica, Dirrecte, and the clementine PDO sector. These workers will be tested on departure from Casablanca, then on arrival at Poretta airport (Bastia) and finally seven days after their arrival on the farm.

Frédéric Dubessy

Friday, October 9th 2020

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