Coronavirus: Rabat studies steps for Festival of Sacrifice

Islamic PM dilemma over crowds and re-entries from abroad

11 June, 11:44

    (ANSAmed) - RABAT, JUNE 11 - Moroccan Prime Minister Said Eddine El Othmani of the pro-Islamic Justice and Development (PJD) party is grappling with the issue of how to contain crowds for the Festival of the Sacrifice, a key Islamic holiday that falls at the end of July.

    There are about 35 million Moroccans who live in Morocco, but almost the same number of Moroccans have emigrated abroad.

    Thus far, the country has managed to contain the spread of coronavirus, but this year's holiday could put a strain on containment, with Moroccans returning home from abroad, as well as the slaughter of millions of rams in a ritual that reproduces Abraham's test of obedience to God. The draft decree for the Covid-19 protection plan initially set forth an extension of the state of health emergency through August 8, but the cabinet opposed this and opted instead for July 10.

    The plan provides for a gradual, regional-based reopening, with flexibility to allow for more attention on vulnerable categories such as those over age 65 and those with chronic illnesses.

    Starting on June 20, residents will be able to move between regions and from one city to another.

    Mosques, bars and restaurants will reopen starting June 25.

    National flights will resume starting June 16, with international flights resuming on July 2.

    All of the scheduled dates are flexible and could be revised in light of urgent needs such as new hotbeds of infection in various regions.

    Face masks will continue to be mandatory, as well as social distancing and basic prevention measures.

    El Othmani made the draft decree official on Wednesday, only after the cabinet examined it point by point.

    Meanwhile, Morocco is holding its breath; with 106 new cases, the number of people being treated for coronavirus has risen to 777, for an overall total of 8,438 cases.

    The number of deaths has remained stable for the sixth day at 208.(ANSAmed).

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