In Morocco, the suspension of all incoming flights from this Tuesday has come into effect.
The suspension comes in response to the new Omicron variant and will be in place for two weeks.
For many, like Charleroi resident Mohamed Bekkaoui, it meant a last minute scramble to travel on Monday night .
“We are going to Charleroi. We already had tickets to travel on Sunday, but yesterday at 8 p.m., my son asked me to go to Rabat urgently. That’s what we did. Luckily we found transport” he said.
Another Charleroi resident, Fatine, had her plans thrown into disarray.
“I came to visit my mother here in Morocco, but my visit did not go as planned.
I already had my return ticket, but with this new crisis and these decisions we were forced to travel, especially since they didn’t give us enough time to find a solution”, she complained.
In social networks, the Moroccan foreign ministry said the decision was taken to preserve the progress made last year during the pandemic.
Scientists have concerns about the nature of the new variant and how effective current vaccines are.
“The new Omicron variant seems to be easily transmitted, but we haven’t had time yet to get an idea, but I think they are doing what is necessary, I think as recommended by the WHO. I believe that we can leave special flights for people who work there”, says Agraou Benissa, a doctor in Rabat.
Last year, Morocco kept its borders closed fearing the health system would not be able to cope with the rising numbers of patients seen in Europe.