The government has not yet decided when it will repatriate citizens stranded in the US, where COVID-19 cases are surging.
Rabat – After bringing home thousands of citizens from several European, African, Gulf, and Asian countries, Morocco will now start repatriation operations for Moroccans stranded in Canada.
A diplomatic source familiar with the matter told Morocco World News that a flight will first bring home Moroccans stranded in Canada. The flight, which was initially scheduled to depart from Canada on July 2, is now set to depart on Saturday, June 4.
The source added that there have been rumors there would also be a Morocco-bound flight from New York, but clarified that the confirmed flight will only repatriate Moroccans stranded in Canada.
They added that there has been no decision so far on the timing of the repatriation of Moroccans stranded in the United States.
There have been over 1,200 Moroccans stranded in the US since Morocco closed its borders in mid-March in an attempt to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After over three months of uncertainty surrounding their return date to Morocco and pleas to the government to bring them back home, the government launched the first stage of the repatriation process in mid-May with the repatriation of Moroccans stranded in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, as well as in Algeria.
The second phase of the process started with the repatriation of Moroccans stranded in other parts of the world.
After bearing the costs of the repatriation and isolation accommodation of over 10,000 Moroccans, our source said that the Moroccan government is now mulling whether to “offer a paid package” for the remaining Moroccans, which would include “their flight and nine-day stay in a hotel” during the quarantine period.
According to our source, no decision in this regard has been made so far, adding that in the event the government opted for the paid package, it would not apply to people in a precarious economic situation.
Like the other citizens who benefited from repatriation operations, the returnees will spend a quarantine period at hotel establishments after undergoing screening tests to identify possible COVID-19 carriers.
The operation follows a score of similar repatriation campaigns Morocco has been conducting to bring stranded tourists back home after more than three months of travel suspension, since mid-March.
From June 21 to June 27, Morocco repatriated more than 4,000 citizens from 17 countries. This includes the return of 150 stranded citizens today from France.
Starting June 28, the country launched a second repatriation process that is set to continue until July 4.
Before starting to repatriate Moroccans, the government collaborated with several foreign countries to assist them in efforts to repatriate their nationals stranded in Morocco.
Morocco’s government has been assisting France, the Netherlands, Spain, the US, and several other countries to facilitate repatriation of their citizens.