All non-essential travel from Morocco to the Netherlands will be halted from August 13, due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Morocco.
Rabat – The Dutch government has decided to ban all non-essential travel to the Netherlands for people from Morocco and Malta, according to Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus. The Dutch minister submitted a letter to parliament on August 11 that outlines the decision to remove Morocco. Previously, Morocco featured on the Netherlands’ list of countries deemed to have their coronavirus epidemic under control.
The Minister of Health, the Foreign Affairs minister, and the Security minister of the Netherlands made the decision, deeming that a recent increase in cases in Morocco meant the country was no longer safe for non-essential travel. The ban will become active from midnight on August 13.
The letter informing parliament of the government’s decision highlights that the ministers made the decision using “objective criteria regarding the health context in Morocco.” It also likens the decision to those that removed Serbia, Montenegro, and Algeria from the same list earlier. The Dutch government requires the national infection rate to be below that of the European average per 100,000 capita.
The Dutch government’s letter also stated that they made the based on national policies regarding the amount of COVID-19 tests performed, local measures taken, and the intensity of contact-tracing efforts. The letter to parliament did not release any data on these elements of Moroccan COVID-19 policies.
The ban halts the frequent flights that connect Morocco and the Netherlands. Thousands of Moroccans visit the Netherlands annually because the country has a large Moroccan population and the countries enjoy strong trade ties.
Earlier in the pandemic, when Moroccan measures kept borders closed, Dutch-Moroccan Mayor of Arnhem Ahmed Marcouch called Moroccan COVID-19 measures “inhumane” for preventing Dutch-Moroccans from visiting the country.
The comments were an apparent bid to win local votes in his conservative district. Whether he will take issue with the Dutch decision to implement a similar travel ban on Morocco remains to be seen.