Chinese tourists banned from entering Morocco

Thailand may have stretched out its welcoming arms to China but the same can’t be said of other countries, especially Morocco which has banned all mainland tourists from entering the African country.

Thailand Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn on Saturday was quoted as saying that his ministry was “very pleased to learn that China will implement new border control measures from January 8 onward,” adding that this was “long-awaited good news for Thailand.” But China has not been afforded a similar welcome by other countries.

Canada and Australia imposed temporary pre-flight Covid-19 tests for travellers from China, including Hong Kong, and Macau, from Thursday, January 5, reported Bangkok Post.

The United States, Britain, Israel, Spain, France, Japan, South Korea, and India had already taken similar measures.

Morocco has gone one step further and banned all arrivals from China, regardless of nationality, as concerns grow that mainland tourists will promote a new wave of Covid-19.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry last night said that all travellers arriving from China from tomorrow will be denied entry.

“In light of the evolution of the health situation related to Covid-19 in China … and to avoid a new wave of contaminations in Morocco and all its consequences … access to the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco [will be prohibited] to all travellers coming from the People’s Republic of China, regardless of their nationality.

“The latest measures do not in any way affect the strong friendship between the two peoples, and the strategic partnership between the two countries.”

Morocco did not declare how long the ban would remain in place on tourists from China.

In 2018, about 200,000 Chinese tourists visited the North African nation and before the pandemic in 2019 the government had plans in place to attract 500,000 Chinese travellers every year.

China last month abandoned its strict zero-Covid strategy of mass testing, lockdowns and border controls after almost three years of restrictions.

The Chinese government then made it known last week that all border controls would be lifted on January 8, meaning international arrivals no longer needed to quarantine and mainland residents could apply for passports.

China’s decision to relax restrictions caused alarm within the international community long suspicious of the Chinese vaccines not being as strong as their Western counterparts and concerns over the emergence of new coronavirus variants and infections.

Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the restrictions were “necessary” to keep Canada safe in the face of the pandemic.

“Travellers will be asked if they had been to mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the previous 10 days.

“The rules, which cover passengers aged two and over, would apply regardless of nationality or vaccination status.”

Australian Health Minister Mark Butler said yesterday that the decision to introduce pre-departure Covid tests is in response to the significant wave of infections in China.

“Authorities had taken into account the dynamic and evolving situation in China and the potential for new variants to emerge in an environment of high transmission.”

China has been battling a wave of Covid infections which has overwhelmed the mainland’s hospitals and mortuaries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the public in a televised New Year’s Eve address assuring the nation that the “light of hope” in the pandemic battle was right and called for unity and perseverance in this “new stage” of pandemic control.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.