Prior to the change in protocol, all repatriated Moroccans had to spend nine days in a tourist accommodation before seeing their families.
In a circular signed by Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb, the ministry introduced a series of changes to the health protocol followed during the repatriations of Moroccans stranded abroad.
Ait Taleb addressed the circular to regional health directorates and to the Council of the National Order of Physicians on Monday, July 6.
The previous protocol included a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for repatriated Moroccans on arrival. If tests come back positive, patients are transferred to a hospital, but if they yield negative results, citizens are transferred to a tourist accommodation where they spend a 9-day quarantine period, under daily monitoring. After the ninth day, health authorities recommend an additional 5-day self-isolation period at home.
However, the new protocol would allow some of the repatriated citizens to skip the quarantine period in hotels and tourist resorts and directly self-isolate in their homes.
According to the new health protocol, if a person tests negative for COVID-19 on their arrival and does not show any symptoms of the disease, they can directly rejoin their homes, on the condition of isolating themselves for 14 days.
Before beginning the self-isolation, the returnees are required to sign a declaration of honor and to activate the Wiqaytna tracking application on their smartphones. They are also required to repeat PCR tests every day of the quarantine period.
For cases who test negative for COVID-19 on their arrival but show some of the suspect symptoms, they are required to spend seven days in a tourist accommodation, instead of nine, under daily medical monitoring. If they do not test positive for COVID-19 during the 7-day quarantine period, the citizens are allowed to go back home on the condition of self-isolating for seven additional days.
Meanwhile, the new protocol does not include any changes for repatriated Moroccans who test positive for COVID-19 on their arrival. They will continue to be immediately hospitalized.
The decision to allow repatriated citizens to self-isolate comes as Morocco’s repatriation operations reach their maximal frequency, with over 5,000 Moroccans repatriated every week.
The new protocol would allow health authorities to avoid exceeding the capacity of tourist accommodations reserved for quarantining repatriated citizens.