By Tony Winterburn • 14 March 2020 • 17:29
SPANIARDS STRANDED IN MOROCCO SINCE FRIDAY HAVE COMPLAINED THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTACT THEIR EMBASSY AND THE THE AUTHORITIES IN MOROCCO ARE NOT GIVING THEM ANY INFORMATION
We are scared. “says Álvaro Gijón , speaking from a bus on the way from the Sahara to Marrakech , with had three hours to go before it reached the border.
The closure of the border has left Spanish tourists in limbo, according to Foreign data, 20% of those who come to Morocco for tourism come from Spain.
In the January-November 2018 period, around 2.29 million Spaniards visited Morocco, 6% more than in 2017. Álvaro’s group is made up of 19 people, Spanish but also from Mexico or the Dominican Republic, who must also fly to Madrid to return back to their countries.
“We have called the embassy on several occasions and they must keep the lines busy because they do not catch us,” says Álvaro, who has decided to spend the night with his girlfriend at the airport.
What the tourists fear most is to get sick or catch the coronavirus in Morocco. Álvaro voices the fear of his group of tourists: “I think we will stay at the airport waiting for something to happen. But we are concerned that we will get infected or something will happen to us here. The airport will be crowded.”
His hope is that there, at some counter, someone will give them directions about what to do but so far they have been offered no help.
On March 2, the first case of COVID-19 in Morocco was confirmed by the Moroccan authorities. According to the Foreign Affairs Office, working with the WHO, Morocco has the technical competences to carry out the diagnosis of the new virus in various national laboratories.
“The Moroccan authorities have begun to distribute health cards that must be completed by travelers at ports and airports entering the country and temperature controls are also being carried out at certain points of entry,” explains the Spanish government.
“What worries us most is the lack of information. No one knows what is going to happen, I understand it and it is normal, but this has suddenly caught us and someone should tell us,” laments Álvaro.
His flight should have left early this Friday morning, there are people who should have traveled already, people who have left their children in Spain.
“No one knows if he will be able to leave. We are concerned about how the Government of Spain or that of Morocco will behave with us because right now we are incommunicado.” Another colleague from Álvaro’s group is blunt:
“We don’t have any information and we need action.”
They have sent an email to their airline, Air Europa, which has not replied even though their flights were canceled since Thursday afternoon. There are also other tourists who are considering the option of traveling to Ceuta to try to cross the border.
The Spanish Foreign Ministry has said it does not recommend travel to Morocco, “The Moroccan authorities have announced this afternoon that, as of tomorrow, March 13, and until further notice, air and sea passenger connections with Spain are suspended, so YOU CANNOT TRAVEL DIRECTLY from Spain to Morocco, or from Morocco to Spain. It is recommended, for the moment, NOT TO TRAVEL to Morocco “.
The problem is with those who traveled before this news came out, more to follow…
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