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Chartered plane provides air bridge for Moroccans stranded by Covid-19

Johnny Bugeja

More than 100 members of the local Moroccan community flew from Gibraltar to Tangier yesterday in a chartered flight organised by the Moroccan Community Association.

The Royal Air Maroc flight left Gibraltar International Airport at 7pm with 114 passengers on board, all of whom were swabbed for the presence of Covid-19 virus and antibodies within than 48 hours prior to flying.

Ali Douissi, President of the Moroccan Community Association, told the Chronicle the chartered flight had been welcomed by those who wanted to return to Morocco before the Feast of the Lamb on July 31.

“Many of the passengers are pensioners who have been stuck in Gibraltar for the past four to five months who want to see their family,” Mr Douissi said.

He thanked the GHA and the Director of Public Health, Dr Sohail Bhatti, for their help in providing Covid-19 tests for all passengers.

Tickets were priced at £250 each and travel to Morocco from Gibraltar is limited to just air travel.

The Kingdom of Morocco restricted entry to all international passenger flights and passenger ships as the country went into a strict Covid-19 lockdown on March 12, leaving many people stranded.

But earlier this month the Moroccan Government announced it will ease travel restrictions as from July 14, allowing Moroccans living abroad and foreigners resident in Morocco to return.

Passengers are required to present both a PCR virus test taken within fewer than 48 hours of the flight as well as an antibody test before boarding a plane to Morocco.