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France Adds Morocco, Algeria to COVID Red List

France Adds Morocco, Algeria to COVID Red List

Morocco is also likely to be added to the UK red list, while Turkey and Pakistan could be moved from red to amber

France has added Morocco and Algeria to its red list of countries at high risk for COVID-19. From August 21, travelers arriving in France from either of the two North African countries were subject to stricter regulations, including self-isolation.

France assigns countries green (low risk), amber (medium risk) or red (high risk) status based on COVID-19 risk.

Official numbers in Algeria paint a relatively rosy picture: Only 36 patients are currently considered to be in serious or critical condition, and in total cases per million population (4,316) and deaths per million (114), the country would appear to be doing well. But testing in Algeria (5,158 tests per million population) is almost nonexistent, and public health experts say that most cases simply don’t make it into the official statistics there.

In Morocco, the surge in cases due to the delta variant is more apparent. Morocco’s health system is buckling under the pressure of new COVID cases, with the occupancy rate of intensive care units in many hospitals reaching 100%. In some facilities, surgical wards have been converted to COVID units, meaning that the surgeries other patients need must be postponed.

Of the 69,312 known active cases in Morocco, nearly 1,500 are in serious or critical condition. The country has carried out 234,041 tests, documented 22,162 cases of COVID-19, and seen 323 deaths due to the coronavirus – all per million population.

About 37% of Moroccans, and fewer than 2% of Algerians, are fully vaccinated.

Travelers to France from countries on the red list must have a negative PCR or antigen test result from within 48 hours of departure, an International Travel Certificate confirming an essential reason for travel, and a sworn statement form self-certifying that they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding 14 days. Such travelers must take an antigen test on arrival. If they are not fully vaccinated, they must self-isolate for 10 days, and if fully vaccinated, for seven days. Traveling from France to a country on the red list also requires an International Travel Certificate confirming an essential reason for travel.

Travelers to France from amber (orange) list countries who are fully vaccinated must have proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure or a negative antigen test result within 48 hours of departure. Those who are not fully vaccinated must have an International Travel Certificate confirming an essential reason for travel and must isolate for seven days after arrival, then take another PCR test following this period of self-isolation. Those who are not fully vaccinated and are traveling from France to a country on the amber list also require an International Travel Certificate confirming an essential reason for travel.

Fully vaccinated travelers to France from green-list countries do not need pre-departure tests.

MENA countries on France’s green list include Bahrain, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, the Palestinian territories, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen are on France’s amber list.

The MENA countries on France’s red list include Afghanistan, Algeria, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, and Tunisia.

In an expected update to the UK’s traffic light system for travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Morocco is likely to be added to the red list, while Turkey and Pakistan could be moved from red to amber.

Like France, the UK assigns countries green (low risk), amber (medium risk) or red (high risk) status based on COVID-19 risk. Only British nationals are allowed to travel from red countries to the UK, and they must quarantine at a hotel for 11 nights after their arrival.

The Turkish Embassy in London said that current data “supports our expectation” that the country “will be removed from the red list at the upcoming review,” and that the number of cases in Turkey was “decreasing and lower than the UK.” The seven-day average in Turkey is 232.46 cases per 100,000 people, compared with 464.76 in the UK, the embassy said.

British lawmakers in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan, a forum for discussing issues related to Pakistan and Pakistanis living in the UK, have written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, urging him to move Pakistan from red to amber status. They argue that current data justify relaxing the tight travel restrictions on Pakistan and that keeping it on the red list is “causing grievous suffering to so many people within the diaspora who have been unable to see family members, particularly parents who are seriously ill, as well as separating spouses and children.”

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa as of 12 noon Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0) on Thursday.


CountryConfirmed CasesDeathsRecoveredActive Cases
Palestinian Territories332,6093,657315,61713,335
Saudi Arabia543,0288,505530,3824,141
United Arab Emirates713,4022,031697,41913,952


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