Morocco, which banned all international flights over coronavirus fears, allowed exceptional flights to carry thousands of tourists stuck in different Moroccan airports.
Commercial flights took off from Marrakech airport and are scheduled to continue taking mostly French tourists.
French transport minister said there are 12,000 French nationals in Morocco and that some forty flights were scheduled to take them back to France.
Many Moroccans were also stuck in European airports as the Moroccan foreign ministry instructs consular services to assist them.
Only one locally transmitted case was declared in Morocco. The rest of the 28 cases registered so far contracted the virus in Italy, France and Spain.
The flight ban is expected to hurt Morocco’s tourism sector, which weighs about 11% of GDP.
The tourism sector will be among the sectors to be backed by the $1 billion special fund to be set up for the management of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Actually, King Mohammed VI instructed the government “to create immediately a special fund dedicated to the management of the Coronavirus pandemic,” the Royal Office announced Sunday.
The fund will cover the upgrading and purchase of medical equipment and will support the sectors most vulnerable to shocks induced by the Coronavirus crisis, such as the tourism sector. The fund will also help preserve jobs and mitigate the social repercussions of this crisis.