Morocco to ban flights to and from UK over rising coronavirus rates

Scientists fear other countries may follow suit with a ban on British travellers, ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery reports

Morocco is banning flights to and from the UK due to soaring Covid-19 cases.

Several UK airlines have been told by the Moroccan government that flights will be suspended from 11.59pm on Wednesday until further notice.

Latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show that the North African nation’s weekly rate of reported coronavirus cases on October 14 stood at just 10.4 per 100,000 people.

The current rate in the UK is 445.5 per 100,000 people, with the ONS suggesting infection levels are being driven partly by high positivity rates among schoolchildren.

On Tuesday, the UK reported 43,738 new Covid-19 infections, as cases reached above 40,000 for seven days in a row.

Tuesday also saw the highest daily death toll - 223- recorded in England since March.

EasyJet passengers were affected by the ban Credit: David Parry/PA

EasyJet cancelled two flights from Gatwick and Manchester to Marrakech on Wednesday, but will operate flights in the opposite direction to bring passengers back to the UK before the ban comes into effect.

An EasyJet spokesperson said it will be contacting all customers whose flights are cancelled, with vouchers and refunds among the alternative options being offered.

“We are still awaiting clarity from the Moroccan authorities as to whether we are permitted to operate repatriation flights beyond midnight today," a statement read.

“As a result of this decision, we will cancel our outbound flying from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands until 30 November.

"Pending guidance from the Moroccan government, we intend to fly inbound in the coming days to offer passengers repatriation flight options."

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British Airways, meanwhile, cancelled flights between Heathrow and Marrakech, which were due to resume on Thursday after being suspended due to the pandemic.

The flight ban will affect families in England and Wales who booked half-term holidays in Morocco for next week.

Morocco’s National Office of Airports said the policy will remain in place “until further notice”.