Latest Travel News
Last updated 6 October 2021
Easing of travel rules
The UK government has announced changes to the rules on international travel.
- The traffic light system has been simplified. Morocco is now on the Green list where it deserved to be for some (see statistical justification below). Wales has partially agreed to align with England’s changes.
- All fully vaccinated passengers of all our future groups will not need to do a test before returning to the UK.
- From the end of October onwards When returning to the England fully vaccinated travellers still need to take a test 2 days after they travel home. The cost is much less (about £28) because lateral flow tests are now acceptable. (They do not need to self-isolate).
PLEASE NOTE If you are travelling from/to Wales & Scotland latest rules have been updated on their web sites. Here is the link to the Welsh rules: https://gov.wales/rules-foreign-travel-and-wales-coronavirus-covid-19
Here is the link to the Scottish rules: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-quarantine/
Morocco has been open for travel since the 15th June. Although the incidence of Covid increased since the Big Feast in July, it has now fallen dramatically – continued vaccination (including our staff in their late 20s who have just had their second jab), a ban on big weddings (Moroccan superspreader events!) and a (now discontinued) 9pm night curfew have clearly helped. As illustrated by the graph below the measures have been highly effective and by 4 October rates had fallen to 2.5 reported cases per 100,000 population.
WHY TRAVEL TO MOROCCO IS QUITE EASY NOW provided that (we suggest) you begin this process at the very least a week before departure.
Entry Requirements for travellers from the UK
Firstly everybody has to:
1. fill in the passenger health form online then print at https://www.onda.ma/form.php
To complete this you will need:
- Your flight details
- The address of the guesthouse: La Maison Anglaise Ecolodge, Rocade Taroudant, Bab Benyara, Taroudant 83.000
- Your passport number
- Your vaccination details if applicable
2. Order or book the necessary tests that need to be done in the UK – details below. NB you are required to make arrangements for tests on return before you leave the UK. The requirements are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated. For the vaccinated it is very simple in the UK just a test on day 2 after your return.
Next EITHER if you have been fully vaccinated more than 2 weeks before your departure date you are free to enter Morocco with your vaccination certificate which must be obtained online (appointment card not accepted) NB Make sure to download your vaccine passport 10 days before you are travelling. If you are vaccinated in England obtain it here. If you are vaccinated in Wales you can obtain your certificate from here. If you are vaccinated in Scotland you can obtain your certificate from here. On your return to the UK No quarantine required.
OR If you are NOT vaccinated you will need a certificate of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Morocco. There are now much cheaper options @ £43 per test. For example on the 22 August Randox were offering test kits (using discount code BritishAirways43 or EasyJet2021) for £43 – you don’t need to fly with the airline).
The cheapest deal we found was at https://www.kurixhealth.co.uk/ We found them efficient). Youngsters of 10 or younger are exempt from testing. NB order at least 7 days before you leave if you are doing the tests at home.
You may prefer to take a PCR test at your UK airport of departure – this is more expensive (at £69) and viable if you are spending the night there; you can get a 20% discount from Collinson using this code BA20OFF – for example Manchester Airport has a walk through facility at the train station – results normally within 3 hours.
Non-vaccinated (or Welsh residents) must test negative before return to the UK. These need not be pre-ordered. Again tests must be done within 72 hours of your arrival back to the UK.
EITHER pre-purchase a test kit in the UK (make sure you enter the date you travel home) and take with you and then sent a photo of the result to the lab; since these are rapid antigen tests they cost about £28. Here are the links to two examples: Aero Medical or Chronomics
OR we can easily get tests in Morocco. Like in the UK costs are now regulated by the government: maximum costs for rapid antigen – 200 MAD (about £16); PCR – 400 MAD (about £32.50); this one you don’t need to use – rapid PCR – 600 MAD (about £49). There are 2 options:
either visit a lab in Agadir & make a day’s outing to the seaside at the same time.
or a local doctor who visits the ecolodge, delivers the samples to the lab via a special government-run taxi, and you receive result by email later the next day. Costs vary with numbers & fee for doctor’s visit which works out at 100 MAD (about £8) to 150 MAD per person.
FOR BOTH VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED Test on return to the UK. Everybody must obtain a day 2 test on return to the UK which if you are vaccinated can be a lateral flow test (priced from £28) if you are returning after the end of October. Before the end of October it must be a PCR test. Those who are not vaccinated must complete a test on day 8. Some opt for a day 5 “test to release” (at extra cost) in order to end their quarantine early.
MOROCCO’S CORONAVIRUS STORY
Morocco is on the green list (having about 2.5 reported cases per 100,000 on 5/10/21 (well within green list range) & falling. The rate was much lower before the recent Big Feast & return of Moroccans from abroad & the wedding season. In fact up to 25 per 100,000 is the limit for green listed so it’s a mystery why they were not on the green list as once rumoured) **. But in fact the amber and green list countries have the same rules on return to the UK, so it does not make any difference to travel restrictions ie no self-isolation required if you are double jabbed.
Please note that UK government announcements re changes in status of countries are made on a 3 weekly cycle (usually on Wednesday, can be on Thursday) so the dates in 2021 should be 15 or 16 Sept; 6 or 7 Oct; 27 or 28 Oct; 17 or 18 Nov; 8 or 9 Dec; 29 or 30 Dec. We keep a careful eye on rates & news.
** In addition to the infection rate, these factors are considered:
1) the vaccination rate, which is remarkable, having treated all vulnerable members of the population and now vaccinating school children and offering boosters to older people) – they accounted for 50% of all vaccines distributed in the African continent on 5 September 2021
2) the prevalence of variants of concern (far less an issue than the UK!),
3) access to sufficient medical facilities,(for the number of cases they are very well equipped) and
4) the ability to do genomic sequencing (they can).
Most airlines have flexible booking offers. Examples include EasyJet flights from London Gatwick or Manchester direct to Agadir, RyanAir flights from Stansted to Agadir or BA flights direct to Marrakech from Heathrow. The flight schedules may vary – for example cutting the number of flights – Saturday is now the main flight day to Agadir.
Your airline will provide you with a link to the passenger health form which should be filled in and presented on entry to Morocco.
Flight prices are rising for new green list countries so perhaps now is the time to book flights (especially if they have flexible booking conditions) .
Help from us If you choose to book with us we will give you the latest details that we are aware of at that time – we keep as well informed as possible. Jane has travelled back to Wales in May & October and Marie travelled in September & October, so are familiar with procedures.
Should you wish to travel to Morocco from a country other than the UK it is essential that you check what regulations apply for travel into and out of Morocco.
Reassuring Information about our Ecolodge
If you would like to read about our how well adapted our ecolodge is to prevent transmission of Covid – 19 and some ideas to strengthen your immune system, please go to our page here