As Covid-19 cases continue to soar across China due to the reversal of Beijing’s zero-COVID policy, Morocco has imposed a ban on all arrivals entering the country from China. According to a statement released by Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, the ban applies to anyone arriving from China, regardless of their nationality, and the ban is to take effect January 3 and remain in effect indefinitely.
The ministry’s statement also reaffirmed that the ban is not meant to be a reflection of the relationship between Morocco and China, saying, “This exceptional measure in no way affects the sincere friendship between the two peoples nor the strategic partnership between the two countries to which the Kingdom remains firmly attached.”
According to the statement, Morocco “closely followed” the escalating Covid situation in China through direct communication with the Chinese and has instituted the ban to prevent a new wave of Covid in the country.
The state of emergency that Morocco first installed in March 2020 to allow local authorities to do what is necessary to combat the spread of Covid has also been extended to January 31. The state of emergency has continuously been renewed since its implementation.
While other countries like the U.S., Canada, Australia, South Korea, and Japan have taken measures to slow the spread of Covid, since Beijing ended its zero-COVID policy, such as requiring arrivals from China to present a negative Covid test, Morocco is the first country to ban travelers from China completely.
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On December 28, citing the Chinese government’s failure to provide “adequate and transparent epidemiological and viral genomic sequence data,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandated that all arrivals from China entering the U.S. provide a negative Covid test before being granted entry.
According to leaked minutes from a meeting of China’s top health organization, roughly 248 million people were infected with the virus during the first 20 days of December. If the numbers from the leaked document are accurate, then China currently has the largest Covid outbreak in the world, and other countries would be wise to follow Morocco’s lead.