From the start of next month, commercial flights will be allowed again at the airports of Algiers, Constantine and Oran, the three largest cities in the North African nation. While the precise details of the conditions for the partial lifting of health restrictions have yet to be made public, “strict control” will be imposed on all arrivals to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Regular commercial flights and passenger sea links were suspended by Algerian authorities more than a year ago, on March 17, 2020. This has left the few million Algerians living abroad, many of them living abroad. France, completely cut off from their family and friends.
The government of Algiers has well organized the return of some nationals, but even these exceptional flights were suspended on March 1 of this year, amid fears of the so-called British variant of the coronavirus.
The Algerian government decided on Sunday that it was now safe to begin the process of gradually reopening the borders.
Initially, there will be five flights per day from and to Algiers, Constantine and Oran. All passengers will be required to adhere to strict sanitary rules. Details of travelers’ obligations must be published within one week.
The Minister of Health, Abderrahmane Benbouzid, has already declared that anyone wishing to enter Algeria, whether national or foreign, will be obliged to present a negative Covid test dating back less than 36 hours, and to accept a second test. at the arrival.
“Those who test negative will be allowed to enter,” the minister said. “Those who test positive will be isolated for ten days,” continued the health chief. The cost of the test on arrival, and any accommodation costs in the event of isolation, will be borne by the visitor.
Special additional requirements should be imposed on those arriving from countries where variants of the coronavirus are particularly active, added the minister, without providing further details.
Speaking on Algerian public radio on Sunday, following the government’s decision, Doctor Mohamed Bekkat Berkani, member of the national scientific council, said it was reasonable to start a gradual reopening, “on condition of recalling that the virus is among us, it is still infecting people, and all you have to do is let your guard down to see this disease spread once more. “
Algeria currently reports less than 200 cases of Covid-19 per day, for a population of 44 million. There have been 3,375 virus-related deaths and 125,000 cases of coronavirus since the start of the epidemic.