TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has started dialogues with the governments of Morocco and Peru after the two countries unexpectedly announced border closures, resulting in more than 160 Taiwanese stranded overseas.
According to UDN, the Moroccan government said Sunday (March 15) that it was suspending all international flights to and from its territory in response to the current Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result of the cancelations, approximately eight Taiwanese tourist groups visiting the Northern African nation are unable to return home.
A tour guide for Taiwan's Lion Travel agency explained the situation on Facebook, saying that thousands of foreign nationals are currently trapped inside Moroccan airports. He said he hopes the Taiwanese government can evacuate its citizens and that the travel agency is willing to cover all expenses.
The tour guide pointed out that two of the Taiwanese tour groups, totaling 40 people, have also been blocked from leaving Peru after that country closed its air and sea borders to curb the spread of the coronavirus. He added that Peru has been deploying military personnel on the streets to restrict the mobility of people, reported Liberty Times.
During a press briefing Monday evening (March 16), MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that the ministry has reached out to Lion Travel as well as the governments of the two countries involved. She said the stranded citizens are in good health and have been placed in local hotels.
Ou stressed that the Taiwanese authorities are exploring possible evacuation plans to bring their citizens back to the island country. She said MOFA is awaiting further notice from Morocco and Peru but that both countries will likely allow special flights to repatriate the tourists, reported CNA.