Moroccan authorities have reimposed lockdown measures and restrictions in Tangier and Fez as of Wednesday, August 5, following a recent spike in confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the two cities. According to media sources, individuals will be required to carry a permit authorized by local authorities to travel to and from the two cities. Authorities have banned all forms of gatherings. All shops, cafes, and commercial centers are required to close at 22:00 (local time) and restaurants are required to operate until 23:00. Additionally, all access to beaches and public spaces have been banned and public transport services in the two cities will reduce their capacity to 50 percent.
A partial lockdown introduced by authorities on July 27 restricting entry and exit from the cities of Berrechid, Casablanca, Marrakech, Meknes, Settat, and Tetouan, remains in place. Exceptions include inter-city trade and cargo, or for those seeking medical care. Public and private sector employees required to travel for work will need to obtain a permit from local authorities. An end date to the lockdown measures has yet to be announced.
The country's borders have been reopened only to Moroccan residents returning from foreign countries. A mandatory COVID-19 test will have to be taken within 48 hours of traveling and individuals entering the country will be subject to a seven-day isolation period followed by a second COVID-19 test. The borders remain closed to all foreign nationals and tourism.
As of August 5, health authorities have confirmed 27,217 COVID-19 cases with 417 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently, and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
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