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Morocco steps up fight against pandemic

New measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus come into force in the Alawi kingdom
A Moroccan military armoured personnel carrier drives along a street in Sale, north of the capital Rabat, instructing people to return and stay indoors as a measure against the coronavirus pandemic.

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   A Moroccan military armoured personnel carrier drives along a street in Sale, north of the capital Rabat, instructing people to return and stay indoors as a measure against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Moroccan government's new measures to tackle the COVID-19 health crisis, which has intensified in the North African country in recent days, are now in force. 

The new anti-COVID guidelines established by the Moroccan health authorities to improve a situation that had worsened in recent days due to the spread of the pathogen came into force on Friday evening. 

The new provisions include a nationwide night-time curfew from 23:00 to 04:30. In addition, travel between prefectures and provinces will be subject to the presentation of valid vaccination documentation or the possession of a travel authorisation from the competent administration in each territory. The new restrictions also include a nationwide night-time travel ban from 11 p.m. to half past four, except for people working in vital and essential sectors and activities and those affected by urgent medical cases.

Las autoridades marroquíes controlan a un hombre en un puesto de control, en el distrito de Takadoum, en Rabat
AFP/FADEL SENNA - Moroccan authorities check a man at a checkpoint in the Takadoum district of Rabat.

Other measures imposed by the Kingdom's authorities include a ban on parties and weddings; and also the impossibility of holding funerals that exceed the presence of a maximum of ten people. Outdoor activities with more than 50 people are also prohibited. In order to hold a conclave with more than 50 people, a permit issued by the relevant authorities is required. 

In addition, public transport, cafes, restaurants and various facilities such as public swimming pools must be kept to a maximum of 50 per cent capacity. 

The figures for the spread of the coronavirus in the North African country have not given cause for optimism in recent weeks and the Moroccan government has acted. Indeed, the number of coronavirus infections in Morocco is around 570,000 cases, with more than 9,530 deaths and around 540,000 patients recovered from the disease, according to figures provided by the Moroccan Ministry of Health and other health sources. The Ministry itself indicated the need for vaccination for the entire population covered by this procedure, especially those at risk. 

Marroquíes en sus casas observan a las autoridades que dan instrucciones a la gente
AFP/FADEL SENNA - Moroccans in their homes watch as the authorities give instructions to the people.

The Moroccan Ministry of Health has already certified a "significant increase" of 91% of positive cases during the period from 6 to 19 July, confirming a kind of new wave of infection in the Kingdom. Moreover, on a single day, 21 July, up to 19 deaths of Moroccan nationals were recorded, bringing the number of deaths to over 9,530 since the pandemic began. 

The head of the Moroccan Division of Communicable Diseases, Abdelkrim Meziane Bellefquih, presented in the capital of Rabat the latest report warning of this "significant increase" of 91% of positive cases during the period from 6 to 19 July 2021, confirming that Morocco is entering a new phase in the spread of the virus. Thus, the positivity rate has increased from 4.56% to 10.7%, an upward trend that has had a strong impact on the Casablanca-Settat region (21.3%).

Un sanitario marroquí entra en el Departamento de Enfermedades Infecciosas del Hospital Ibn Rochd de Casablanca
AFP/FADEL SENNA - A Moroccan doctor enters the Infectious Diseases Department of the Ibn Rochd Hospital in Casablanca.

In addition, the COVID-19 spread rate has worsened to 1.45 nationally over the past two weeks, said Abdelkrim Meziane Bellefquih, noting that "it is far from the target, which is 0.7, set as part of the National Plan for Monitoring and Combating COVID-19". Active cases stood at 15,253, up from 5,535 two weeks earlier (an increase of 175%), he said, noting the worrying increase in critical cases in the last two weeks, as reported by Maroc Hebdo. 

Morocco has already managed to vaccinate 21,308,000 people in a major effort to protect as many citizens as possible in the shortest possible time in order to continue to face the pandemic that is sweeping the world. 

Pacientes marroquíes que se recuperaron de la nueva enfermedad celebran con el personal médico a su salida del hospital de la ciudad de Sale, al norte de la capital Rabat
PHOTO/AFP - Moroccan patients who recovered from the new disease celebrate with medical staff as they leave the hospital in the city of Sale, north of the capital Rabat.

With these new measures, the aim is to curb the inertia of contagion and prevent a situation that could worsen in the coming days due to contacts related to celebrations such as Eid al-Adha and the travels of the summer holidays.