Morocco imposes travel ban on South Africa, neighbours over new Covid variant

Morocco has imposed travel restrictions on passengers from South Africa and its neighbours amid concerns over a new Covid-19 variant.

The travel ban covers South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, according to a statement by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued on Friday.

The ministry statement said passengers coming from or transiting through these countries are not allowed to enter Morocco, Xinhua news agency reported.

The decision “is taken to preserve Morocco’s achievements in terms of management of the Covid-19 pandemic and to deal with the deterioration of the health situation in some countries,” it explained.

A new variant of Covid-19 identified as B.1.1.529 was recently detected in South Africa, which according to scientists could evade the immune system and become more transmissible.

The Moroccan Ministry of Health reported 154 new Covid-19 infections on Friday, raising the total confirmed number in the North African country to 949,532.

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