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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Algeria announces repatriation of students stranded in Morocco due to Covid-19

Air Algerie will fly the Algerian students back home [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 January, 2021

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Algeria will repatriate over a dozen students who have been stranded in neighbouring Morocco since 11 January,
Algeria has announced it will be repatriating 12 students who have been trapped in Morocco’s Casablanca airport since 11 January.

Algeria has enacted strict border controls due to coronavirus concerns, leading to a number of citizens being stranded abroad, predominantly in neighbouring Morocco.

Algerian authorities announced that Air Algerie, the country’s official carrier, will repatriate students via two flights scheduled for January 18 and January 21.

In addition to the students, other Algerian citizens stuck in Morocco will also be flown back home.

Algeria’s embassy in Morocco said those who are stranded can buy return tickets from the Air Algerie agency in Casablanca, La Voix du Maghreb reported.

Covid-19 restrictions remain in place, and passengers will have to take a Covid-19 test and present a negative result 72 hours before departure.

The news comes after a local news outlet, Algerie Plus Part criticised the government for an 11 January air travel ban between the two countries.

Special commercial repatriation flights are the only flights currently operating between the two countries.

The 12 students
were originally trying to enter Canada but were turned away by border authorities after failing to meet recently tightened conditions to obtain student visas.

“The Canadian border services in Montreal required them to meet entry conditions that they were not told about when they began the process of obtaining their study visa,” Algerie Plus Part said.

They were then forced to travel to Casablanca because Algeria did not let them return due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Algeria on Sunday reported 222 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total infections number to 103,833.

The coronavirus death toll has risen to 2,836, according to the Algerian Ministry of Health in a statement.

The North African country will receive its first batch of 500,000 doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V in January, and the government has said that the vaccine will be free for all Algerian citizens.

The Sputnik V vaccine is 91.4 per cent effective at immunising people from Covid-19, according to interim late-state trial results.

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