Authorities have announced that as of Friday, August 21, tighter measures will be introduced in the tourist hubs of Casablanca, Marrakech, and Beni Mellal amid a spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. In Casablanca, beaches in Dar Bouazza, Paloma, and in Ain Harrouda will close, along with hammams and beauty salons throughout Casablanca from midnight Friday. Cafes, shops, and other commercial centers will have to close from 20:00 (local time) on Friday, and local markets are to close at 16:00. In Marrakech, authorities will deny entry into 12 neighborhoods in the city which have been identified as COVID-19 hotspots, and security personnel will be manning these entry points. Cafes, restaurants, and shops are to close from 22:00, and souks from 16:00, and eateries have to operate at a 50 percent capacity with all necessary preventative measures in places. In Beni Mellal, authorities will bar entry to six COVID-19 hotspots in the city as of 14:00 on Friday. Hammams, beauty salons, sports complexes, and commercial shops are to close by 20:00, and souks from 14:00. Cafes and large public spaces will close from 18:00. Pre-existing measures will also remain in place for Casablanca, Marrakech, and Beni Mellal.
A national state of health emergency remains in place until at least September 10. Face masks remain mandatory in all public spaces; individuals found to be violating social distancing and mandatory face mask measures in place will be fined 300 dirhams (33 USD).
The country's borders have been reopened only to Moroccan residents returning from foreign countries. A mandatory COVID-19 test is required 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 August 21, there have been 47,638 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Morocco and 775 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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