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Coronavirus

Morocco Says that European Tourists Could Contribute to a Dangerous Spread of COVID-19

MADRID — The Spanish government says authorities in Morocco and other countries share its concern that the more than 3 million residents of Europe who visit North Africa every summer could contribute to a dangerous spread of the new coronavirus.

Government spokeswoman María Jesús Montero says Spain is discussing with other governments how to best approach public health and the passenger ferries that turn the Strait of Gibraltar into a busy gateway to and from Africa.

Montero said at the end of a weekly Spanish Cabinet briefing on Tuesday: “Africa is a vulnerable continent with quite a lot of poverty and a total absence of a health system.”

Over 3.3 million people, most of them Moroccans residing in Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy, traveled last year in some 760,000 vehicles to visit relatives and friends back home during the summer holiday.

The southern Spanish port of Algeciras and northern Morocco’s Tangier, where Europe and Africa come closest, see most of the ferry traffic.

While countries around the world closed their borders to foreigners to keep out the virus, Morocco also barred its own citizens from returning home.

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