Algeria partially reopens air travel after 14-month hiatus

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) – Algeria partially reopened its skies to flights on Tuesday after a 14-month shutdown in an attempt to avoid the coronavirus, with a first flight from the national airline Air Algérie taking off for Paris on Tuesday and another expected land later in Algiers, the capital.

Great caution has prevailed over the partial reopening, with limited flights, tests for COVID-19 and mandatory quarantine.

Those heading to Algiers must have a negative PCR test less than 36 hours before boarding, and all passengers must undergo a five-day quarantine in a hotel requisitioned by the state. A negative test result is required to leave the hotel.

The number of flights and weekly destinations is limited to five cities: Paris and Marseille in France, the Spanish city of Barcelona, ​​the Tunisian capital Tunis and Istanbul.

Air Algerie staff lined up to cheer the passengers on the arrival of the first flight.

One of the passengers, Amina Nasri, said she understood the measures put in place because “it is in our interest”.

“The most important thing for me is to see my son and my grandchildren whom I have not seen since February 2020,” she told Radio Algeria.

Algerians in Paris, Algiers and elsewhere have complained about the restrictions and the price. Expenses and meals at the hotel are the responsibility of the passengers. And not everyone can get on infrequent flights. In the days before the virus, many Algerians in France, for example, often returned to their countries of origin for visits.

“This is a first operation. We want great vigilance from our passengers because the success of this operation will be decisive for the future, ”said Air Algeria spokesperson Amine Andaloussi in an interview with the visa-algerie.com site.

Other airlines, such as Tunisair and Air France, were to add their own flights.

Algeria recorded 3,472 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday evening, and more than 128,900 confirmed cases, far fewer than European countries and fewer than its North African neighbors.

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