COVID-19: Morocco seeks repatriation of some 22,000 Moroccans stuck abroad

Morocco is preparing for the return of its citizens who were forced to stay abroad after passenger flights were banned to contain the coronavirus, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita told MPs.

He said efforts are ongoing in coordination with the health ministry to bring back home some 22,000 Moroccans in best conditions, Moroccan media reported.

The minister did not announce when the repatriation process will start, explaining that the plan depends on the country’s sanitary situation.

Repatriation should take place in the best conditions, without causing risk to the country or to the repatriated citizens, he insisted.

Diplomatic and consular services are taking care of 3,488 Moroccans offering them accommodation and meals, he said, adding that the budget of diplomatic activities has been geared to finance such costs.

Bourita revealed that Moroccan embassies and consulates have so far recorded 341 coronavirus-related deaths among Moroccan expatriates, who were all buried according to Islamic rites in Islamic cemeteries.

The minister also deplored that members of Moroccan diplomatic representations in France, Germany and Vietnam were infected, local media said citing unnamed MPs who attended the meeting.

Morocco will not leave any of its citizens out including the students who finished their studies and lost university accommodation, the minister said.

A hot line set up by the foreign ministry for queries by Moroccans stuck abroad received 48,000 calls within a month by April 17, he said.

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