Coronavirus: Morocco suspends incoming international flights amid omicron variant concerns

RABAT, Morocco — Morocco’s foreign ministry has announced that it is temporarily suspending incoming international flights amid concerns about a new coronavirus variant, omicron.

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According to The Associated Press, the ministry for the northern African nation shared the news in a Twitter thread on Sunday.

“Due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 new variant – Omicron (B.1.1.529), particularly in Europe and Africa, and in order to preserve the gains made by Morocco in the fight against the pandemic and protect citizens, Moroccan authorities have decided to suspend all direct flights to the Kingdom of Morocco, for a period of 2 weeks, starting from Monday, 29 November, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.,” the tweets read.

>> See the tweet here

The announcement came days after the United States said it would restrict travel from South Africa, where the “variant of concern” was discovered, as well as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia and Lesotho, The New York Times previously reported. Although the new variant has been detected in several European countries, Australia, Israel and Hong Kong, no cases have been reported in the U.S., according to the AP. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, however, told “Weekend Today” on Saturday that he “would not be surprised” if omicron was already circulating here.

>> RELATED STORY: US to restrict travel from southern African countries

On Sunday, Oxford University’s Our World in Data project reported that so far, 54.1% of people worldwide have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Nearly 66% of Moroccans and more than 69% of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the data.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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