Algeria partially reopens borders after 15 months of virus shutdown

Passengers wait to check in at an Air Algeria counter for a flight to Paris at Algiers' Houari Boumediene Airport
Passengers wait to check in at an Air Algeria counter for a flight to Paris at Algiers' Houari Boumediene Airport - AFP
Advertising

Algiers (AFP)

Algeria partially reopened its borders Tuesday after more than a year of being sealed off because of the coronavirus pandemic, as flights between Algiers and Paris resumed.

Since March 17, 2020, millions of Algerians abroad have been shut out of the country as land borders and maritime links were closed and commercial flights stopped.

But last week, the government announced that from June 1, it would progressively start allowing in flights from France, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey, with travellers having to undergo a five-day quarantine at designated government hotels, which they must pay for themselves.

The measures have caused considerable discontent among the large Algerian diaspora, especially in France.

Late Tuesday afternoon, an Air Algeria flight carrying almost 300 passengers landed in Algiers from Paris-Orly airport.

Earlier in the day, the same aircraft had taken around sixty passengers to Paris.

Local media showed the passengers disembarking onto the tarmac at Algiers, before being led directly to coaches to be taken to their hotel for isolation.

Algeria's health ministry says the country has recorded almost 3,500 deaths from Covid-19 since the first case was registered in February 2020.

Around 130,000 cases have been registered in the country of 44 million.

A curfew is in place in 19 out of 58 of Algeria's prefectures, and its land and sea borders remain closed for now.