Morocco Prevents Aminatou Haidar From Leaving Laayoune Due to COVID-19

Morocco Prevents Aminatou Haidar From Leaving Laayoune Due to COVID-19

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Rabat – Moroccan authorities prevented Polisario supporter Aminatou Haidar on Wednesday from flying from Laayoune to the Canary Islands due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Health professionals at the El Hassan 1 Airport in Laayoune stopped Aminatou Haidar from taking off, in cooperation with Royal Air Maroc, as she had recently contracted COVID-19 and failed to observe the full recovery period.

Morocco’s state media quoted a statement from Royal Air Maroc, saying that Aminatou Haidar was prevented from getting on board the flight to Las Palmas in accordance with the protocol of the state of emergency.

The company said that health authorities informed Royal Air Maroc of her health status, adding that Aminatou Haidar was a confirmed COVID-19 carrier.

“This coordination between health authorities, local authorities, and the national company aims to preserve the health of passengers and flight safety,” Royal Air Maroc explained.

The company recalled that people with COVID-19 cannot access a flight to avoid the risk of infecting other passengers and crew members.

Health protocol requires anyone who tests positive to self-isolate for a period of 14 days, the statement added. 

Aminatou Haidar received her positive COVID-19 diagnosis on November 12, five days before she attempted international travel.

The country prohibits nationals and foreign tourists from traveling in case of COVID-19 infection.

Morocco asks for a negative PCR test result from a sample collected within 72 hours of travel in order to allow passengers to board a plane or access the country.

The measures are part of Morocco’s preventive actions to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to spread across the country.

As of November 18, Morocco recorded a total of 306,995 COVID-19 cases, including 5,013 deaths and 253,351 recoveries.

Aminatou Haidar, known for her hostile activism against Morocco’s territorial integrity, confirmed Morocco prevented her from traveling to the Canary Islands.

Speaking to Spanish news agency EFE, the separatist activist claimed she was the only passenger to be asked for PCR test results.

The claim contradicts Morocco’s policy, which requires PCR test results from all national passengers and tourists, as well as businessmen and businesswomen wishing to leave or enter the country.

She claimed that no one told her about the requirement until the moment of boarding the plane, a statement that contradicts Morocco’s measures.

The country imposed PCR test result measures for travelers since Morocco started repatriating its citizens in June, who were stranded abroad since March.

Moroccan media, including Morocco World News, heavily reported on the measures the Moroccan government put in place as conditions for travelers to access and leave the country.

The separatist figure, however, claimed Morocco’s PCR test requirement would not come into effect until November 23.

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She also claimed authorities allowed her son to leave Morocco because of his Spanish nationality.

Separatist figures such as Aminatou Haidar have often faced accusations from Morocco of carrying out illegal activities. The country’s security services arrested her in 2005 for participating in a violent protest. 

A confidential document published by local media in February 2018 showed that Haidar and other separatists receive €500 monthly to spread separatist ideologies in the region.

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