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Spain Extends Border Closure Between Its African Enclaves & Morocco

The Spanish authorities decided to extend the closure of the borders between its two North African enclaves Ceuta, Melilla and Morocco due to the Corona virus pandemic.

The Ministry of the Interior announced the decision on Tuesday, 2 November, after the same decision was published in the Official Gazette of Spain (BOE) regarding the extension of the border closure. The border closure is now set to remain in place until November 30 and is extendable.

Ceuta and Melilla are two Spanish cities located in North Africa that are autonomous and have a population of 87,000 and 80,000 people respectively. While Ceuta is located on the northern coast of Africa, Melilla is located in the northwest of the African continent.

The Trajal border in Ceuta and the Beni Ensar border in Melilla have been closed since March 2020, when the Spanish government declared a state of concern. The same hasn’t reopened since then, reports.

Initially, the only people allowed to cross the land border between Spain and Morocco were Spanish citizens and EU member states trapped in Morocco due to the coronavirus outbreak, as well as those traveling for very essential purposes.

However, later on, those with vaccination certificates recognized by the Spanish authorities were allowed to enter Spanish territory.

On the other hand, Morocco has also decided to maintain the state of health emergency amid COVID-19 until the end of November, which can also be extended. Authorities only allow Spanish and other EU citizens who are stranded on their territory to cross the border to Ceuta and Melilla.

The ongoing closure of the border has recently been criticized by the Andalusian Human Rights Association, which has particularly emphasized its concerns about the fate of border workers in the enclaves.

“Some of them have been working daily in Ceuta for nearly twenty years, without recognizing any rights, and after the borders were closed, they were unable to leave the autonomous city or see their relatives for more than a year, and the Seville-based NGO said in a statement.

>> What COVID-19 vaccines are approved for travel to Spain reported on Monday this week that the Spanish authorities have decided to extend the entry ban imposed on the majority of travelers from third countries who do not have vaccination evidence recognized by the Spanish authorities.

Currently, only travelers from the following third countries are allowed to travel to Spain for non-essential purposes if they have not been vaccinated against COVID-19:

Australia Bahrain Canada Chile China Hong Kong Jordan Kuwait Macau New Zealand Qatar Rwanda Saudi Arabia Singapore South Korea Taiwan, Ukraine United Arab Emirates Uruguay

Since the end of last week, Spain has also tightened entry restrictions on arrivals from Norway, Sweden and Poland, after an increase in the number of cases detected in these countries. The decision means that travelers from these three countries now need to provide evidence of vaccination, recovery or negative COVID-19 test results, in order to be allowed to enter Spain.

>> Traveling to Spain during COVID-19: Here’s what you need to know

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