Chinese tourists banned from entering Morocco

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Thailand may have stretched out its welcoming arms to China but the same can’t be said of other countries, especially Morocco which has banned all mainland tourists from entering the African country.

Thailand Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn on Saturday were quoted as saying that his ministry was “very pleased to learn that China will implement new border control measures from January 8 onward,” adding that this was “long-awaited good news for Thailand.” But China has not been afforded a similar welcome by other countries.

Canada and Australia imposed temporary pre-flight Covid-19 tests for travellers from China, including Hong Kong, and Macau, from Thursday, January 5.

The United States, Britain, Israel, Spain, France, Japan, South Korea, and India had already taken similar measures.

Morocco has gone one step further and banned all arrivals from China, regardless of nationality, as concerns grow that mainland tourists will promote a new wave of Covid-19.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry last night said that all travellers arriving from China tomorrow will be denied entry.

“In light of the evolution of the health situation related to Covid-19 in China … and to avoid a new wave of contaminations in Morocco and all its consequences … access to the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco [will be prohibited] to all travellers coming from the People’s Republic of China, regardless of their nationality.

“The latest measures do not in any way affect the strong friendship between the two peoples, and the strategic partnership between the two countries.”

Morocco did not declare how long the ban would remain in place on tourists from China.

In 2018, about 200,000 Chinese tourists visited the North African nation and before the pandemic in 2019, the government had plans in place to attract 500,000 Chinese travellers every year.

China last month abandoned its strict zero-Covid strategy of mass testing, lockdowns and border controls after almost three years of restrictions.

The Chinese government then made it known last week that all border controls would be lifted on January 8, meaning international arrivals no longer needed to quarantine and mainland residents could apply for passports.

China’s decision to relax restrictions caused alarm within the international community long suspicious of the Chinese vaccines not being as strong as their Western counterparts and concerns over the emergence of new coronavirus variants and infections.

Agencies

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