On Thursday, August 6, the Moroccan authorities announced that they would be extending the national state of health emergency to September 10, as the number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to rise in the country. Authorities also announced individuals found to be violating social distancing and mandatory face mask measures in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 will be fined 300 dirhams (33 USD). Face masks remain mandatory in all public spaces.
Local authorities in Rabat began easing restrictions at the beginning of June, and by the end of the month the country began reopening cafes, restaurants, and shops in efforts to restart the country's economy. Domestic flights and public transport services, including train and bus services, resumed nationwide in late June. Authorities have allowed gatherings of more than 20 people in most regions; though, weddings, funerals, public swimming pools, and movie theaters remain banned until further notice. On July 27, a partial lockdown was introduced by authorities restricting entry and exit from the cities of Berrechid, Casablanca, Marrakech, Meknes, Settat, Fez, Tangier, and Tetouan. 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.
On Wednesday, August 5, authorities reimposed lockdown measures and restrictions in Tangier and Fez following a recent spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Individuals are required to carry an authorized permit to travel to and form the two cities. All forms of gatherings have also been banned. Shops, cafes, and commercial centers are required to close at 22:00 (local time) and restaurants must close from 23:00. Additionally, all access to beaches and public spaces have been banned and public transport services in the two cities will reduce capacity to 50 percent.
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 until further notice.
As of Friday, August 7, there have been 29,644 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Morocco and 449 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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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