Algeria is partially reopening its borders, but entry conditions remain dissuasive with compulsory confinement on arrival in a hotel. Very few flights are available to consider a return, complain several groups of Algerians abroad.
Algeria is relaxing the conditions for entry to the soil of its nationals stranded abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic from Tuesday, June 1. This move comes with a reduction in compulsory confinement fees and an exemption for low-income students and seniors.
This announcement comes as the large Algerian diaspora has been protesting for several days against the draconian return conditions in Algeria put in place from June 1.
It was also decided to “lower accommodation costs by 20% for Algerians returning to the country”, according to the government statement. These fees had been set at 41,000 dinars (250 euros) and the hotel, selected by the authorities, had to be paid when the tickets were purchased.
To be able to board, Algerian passengers must also perform two PCR tests, one of less than 36 hours, before boarding and the other five days after their arrival.
Wrath of Algerians in France
The government announced last week a gradual resumption, from June 1, of flights of the national company Air Algeria after a suspension of more than 15 months.
He then specified that the costs of containment and screening on arrival would be the responsibility of the passengers.
A measure that aroused the anger of Algerians established or stranded abroad, especially in France. Hundreds of them demonstrated on Saturday in front of Algerian consulates in France to denounce the conditions imposed by the government for this partial reopening of the borders.
Few flights available to Algeria
The company Air Algérie has confirmed, for its part, that it will provide six weekly flights to four countries (France, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey) and five services: Paris, Marseille, Barcelona, Tunis and Istanbul.
In a statement, a collective of Algerians living abroad reiterated “its rejection of the opening of only five routes” and asked “to be able to buy plane tickets from other foreign companies and thus ease the pressure. on Air Algérie “.
Companies like Volotea or Air France can still plan flights, but for the time being the Algerian government is only opening its space to the national company Air Algeria, Marseille airport told AFP.
In France, diaspora organizations also deplore the lack of available flights. From Marseille, a single weekly flight of 302 seats is scheduled each Saturday to Oran (north-west), with a stopover in the capital, Algiers. From Paris, two flights are scheduled each week, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday.
Among the other demands of the diaspora is “a clear and detailed flight program until the end of the year” from Air Algeria.
Maritime links at a standstill
Diaspora organizations are also calling for the “reopening of maritime borders.” All ferry connections from Marseille are at a standstill, although Corsica Linea says it is “ready for any change in the situation”.
Several million Algerians abroad have had to deal with the closure of borders and the suspension of commercial flights and maritime links decided on March 17, 2020.
Since then, the authorities have organized repatriation flights for their nationals, subject to conditions, but they were suspended on March 1 due to the appearance of the English variant at the end of February in Algeria.