Morocco 'Faces Bankruptcy' After Border Closures Extended over Omicron Threat

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Morocco has extended a ban on international passenger flights until the end of January to fight the spread of the Omicron variant, RFI reported. The closure deals a severe blow to its vital tourism economy, with those working in the sector warning that Morocco is going bankrupt. The National Office of Airports (ONDA) announced on Friday that all passenger flights to and from Morocco would be suspended until 31 January 2021. Royal Air Maroc – the local airline – said that its scheduled exceptional flights between 24 December and 31 December 2021 would still operate. The government imposed the measure to run initially from late November until 31 December, although a mechanism had been in place for Moroccan citizens abroad to come home. Now the only passenger movements allowed are one-off repatriation flights for foreign citizens in the kingdom, authorised on a case-by-case basis by Rabat. The government has also banned all New Year's Eve celebrations and reimposed a night-time curfew. Festivals and cultural gatherings have been banned since the beginning of December. The restrictions have hit Morocco’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism. The sector is already on its knees after two lost seasons because of the pandemic. Read more.