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Canada COVID-19: Canadians stranded in Morocco scramble to get home as travel restrictions squeeze tighter

09:25  17 march  2020
09:25  17 march  2020 Source:   vancouversun.com

Windsor man stuck in Morocco is told he tests positive for COVID-19

  Windsor man stuck in Morocco is told he tests positive for COVID-19 A Windsor, Ont. man who became stuck in Morocco after travelling there for vacation two weeks ago has been told by doctors he has tested positive for COVID-19. Rakan Aloran posted a video to his Facebook page on March 18, stating he was in a hospital in Tangiers after being tested for the virus. "I just got my test results back for COVID-19 and I tested positive," Aloran said in a video. "I'm spending my second night in the Moroccan hospital quarantined. I spent my whole time here. I cannot get out." Aloran told CBC News he hasn't actually seen the test results with his own eyes, and is asking for the paperwork.

In Morocco , tourists have also been stranded after the kingdom announced strict border restrictions in response to the coronavirus, leaving Morocco is particularly popular with French travellers , and the cancellations have left the French government scrambling to try and get citizens home .

Five McGill University students and their professor are stranded in Morocco after their flight home was cancelled when the country suspended all international passenger flights as a protective measure against COVID - 19 .

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Passengers arrive at Vancouver airport on March 16. © Arlen Redekop Passengers arrive at Vancouver airport on March 16.

Vancouverites Leigh Taveroff and Andrew Platt are trying to heed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s advice for Canadians travelling abroad to “come home,” but for the moment remain stranded at a hotel on the Moroccan coast.

The couple left Canada on March 10 and were due to return March 23 but arrived in Marrakesh on Sunday after a three-day desert excursion to discover chaos breaking loose with Morocco closing off international travel due to COVID-19 pandemic fears. Now they’re among the estimated hundreds of Canadians scrambling to book flights out of Morocco running into long waits on hold with airlines and online-booking options that get snapped up before they can book them.

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Canadians working or travelling in Europe are rushing to book flights back home as more countries announce plans to close their borders and suspend international air travel in an effort to stop the spread of COVID - 19 . David McCulloch, a professional basketball player in a Spanish league, said it only took

"No other Caribbean ports were willing to accept the ship because of local sensitivities towards COVID - 19 "The key thing for us is to get guests home as quickly and as safely as possible." The passengers on the Braemar are predominantly British but also include Canadian , Australian, Belgian

“It’s just complete pandemonium at the airport. People are losing their minds,” said Taveroff, a senior producer who works for Postmedia News.

On Monday, Canada closed its border to all international travellers who aren’t Canadian citizens, permanent residents or residents of the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, with some exceptions for diplomats and immediate family members.

“Canadian travellers should return to Canada via commercial means while it’s still possible to do so,” Trudeau said in his afternoon address in front of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. “If you are abroad, it is time for you to come home.”

Canadians ranging from international adventurers in West Africa to snowbirds in the U.S. Sun Belt states to a Metro Vancouver school rugby team trying a European tour were heeding that advice.

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  Montrealers stuck abroad amid COVID-19 pandemic desperate to come home During a press briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, suggested help may be on the way.Some, like Marc Aoun's in-laws, have been trying all week to find a flight.

COVID - 19 updates from across Canada . Canadians advised to not travel outside country, restrictions imposed on international flights, cruises. These actions could severely disrupt travel plans for Canadians and potentially leave them stranded abroad longer than expected, the

Tourists from numerous European countries were left stranded in Morocco on Saturday, as flights were suspended in an attempt to help curb the spread of coronavirus. PM Modi Announces ' COVID - 19 Emergency Fund', Pledges Spain imposes tight restrictions on travel and movement.

In his address Trudeau promised that Canada would set up an aid program to offer financial assistance for flights home or to help cover the cost of basic needs while stranded abroad. For many, however, the bigger problem is finding any flight to take them, even at prohibitive pricing.

“That’s fantastic, but that’s not the issue,” said Kaitlin MacDonald, a Canadian from Moncton, N.B. The issue is that flights aren’t available.

“Canada needs to work with the Moroccan government and Air Canada to send more flights here,” said MacDonald, who landed in Tangier, Morocco, with friends Erica Beaulieu and Gerardo Hidalgo on March 13.

MacDonald said they were still comfortable about their trip when they left Canada, via Montreal and Paris on March 10, but just after landing in Tangier on March 13 they received an email from Ryan Air that their scheduled return flight was cancelled.

“Things started escalating from there,” MacDonald said. “If they had sent that email a few hours prior, we probably wouldn’t have made the trip to Tangier.”

'Is this ever going to end?': Why some Canadian travellers can't come home despite Trudeau's plea

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A Canadian passenger tested positive for coronavirus Saturday on the Silver Shadow, which is docked off the According to passenger CJ Hayden, no one on board has COVID - 19 symptoms, but the "We were allowed to dock at a commercial port for fuel, food, and water but no one could get on or off.

Permanent Canadian residents, the immediate family members of Canadian citizens, diplomats, air crews Anyone who has symptoms of COVID - 19 will not be able to enter Canada . Air operators are being Trudeau announced additional flight restrictions effective Wednesday, that will see some

Since then, MacDonald said they’ve had less-than-helpful advice about what to do and spent time contacting her parents and lobbying her MP to pressure for better assistance. And she’s concerned about the advice in the last email they had received from Global Affairs Canada to fly to a third country and get home from there.

“There are less (COVID-19) cases here in Morocco than the countries they’re telling us to go to,” MacDonald said.

Taveroff and Platt luckily found a hotel at Essaouira where the manager has said they can stay as long as they need to, while the country begins to shut down. However, they’ve had little luck trying to modify their original Air France flight online and spent four hours on the phone with the airline before the call was simply disconnected.

“We’ve been refreshing (the Easyjet website) constantly trying to get out on anything to Europe,” said Platt, who is a Canadian permanent resident, “Preferably the U.K. I have family there and we can stay with them if we have to.”

In Metro Vancouver, parents of the Earl Marriott Secondary rugby program are relieved that their children are on their way home from what was supposed to be a two-week tour of the U.K., France, the Netherlands and Germany. However, that started changing as soon as they were on their way March 11, said Mike Aves, whose son Keegan is on the trip, which has been in the works “for years.”

Trudeau says Canada working hard, but won't be able to get all Canadians home

  Trudeau says Canada working hard, but won't be able to get all Canadians home Trudeau says Canada working hard, but won't be able to get all Canadians homeTrudeau is urging Canadians currently stuck in foreign countries to make safe decisions, stay in touch with Global Affairs and not head to airports unless they have a confirmed seat on a flight back.

Track the current status of the COVID - 19 and stay up to date with the latest news and events about Novel Coronavirus and its course through the globe. Morocco . Animated Global Map. Observe the spread of COVID - 19 from January 22, 2020 to current day.

COVID - 19 Testing Numbers by Country. Confirmed Cases and Deaths by Country, Territory, or Conveyance. Employers urged to let staff work from home [source]. Israel is closing all schools and university 2 new cases in Morocco : a wife and son of a previously confirmed case [source]. We're going to get direct dumps from LabCorp and Quest so people are going to see all the tests done

“Everything changed so quickly,” said Aves. “They were still (set) to be flying home on the day they left,” which was March 11. Since then, Aves gives head coach Adam Roberts full marks for working full-time to find return flights from London, England, to Seattle on Monday and bus transportation to the Peace Arch border crossing where parents were due to pick them up Monday evening.

“No hugs allowed,” Aves said they were warned, “which is kind of comical because they’re still going to be in the same car” and the whole family, as with anyone picking up the boys, will have to head into 14 days of self-isolation, the incubation period for the COVID-19 virus.

In Morocco, MacDonald said she hopes some more pressure can encourage Canada to “(take) a note from France, Turkey and other countries that are sending planes to get their citizens out.”

depenner@postmedia.com

twitter.com/derrickpenner

More than a million Canadian citizens and permanent residents returned home last week .
More than a million Canadian citizens and permanent residents returned home last week as governments around the world ramped up their warnings about the threat of COVID-19. A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency said 959,600 Canadians and 43,890 permanent residents returned to Canada between March 14 and March 20. That lines up with the point when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began urging Canadians to avoid all international travel and Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne told tourists to get home as  soon as possible.

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