COVID-19: Morocco, lockdown, schools closed in Casablanca

School opening postponed two weeks, limited circulation

07 September, 15:58

    RABAT - Morocco is facing a strong increase in coronavirus infections and has ordered a new lockdown in Casablanca, the country's main economic centre.

    Schools were scheduled to reopen Monday, but will now remain closed for at least two weeks. New measures include restrictions to circulation and a nightly curfew, authorities said.

    On Sunday it was announced that borders would reopen to tourism, by reservation only and with a negative Covid-19 test, and the reopening has not been revoked thus far. "We're at risk of being overwhelmed by the virus," Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb told official Moroccan news agency MAP. "Therefore, drastic measures are necessary, otherwise the situation could get out of control in the coming days," he said. In recent weeks, the country has seen a spike in coronavirus cases.

    On Sunday alone, there were 2,234 new infections, a one-day record, and 42% were in Casablanca. Authorities attribute the spread of Covid-19 to peoples' lack of respect for health protocols. Casablanca, together with Marrakesh, had already been subjected to a series of restrictions three weeks ago, including the closure of beaches and reduced working hours.

    On Monday, authorities decided to close all educational institutions, including primary, middle, and high schools, as well as universities, after epidemiologists expressed concern about the ability of the health system to respond to the crisis. In Casablanca, outbound roads for the country's main cities closed at noon, with travel permitted only with "exceptional authorisation" issued by local authorities.

    Since the first reported coronavirus case at the start of March, Morocco has registered 72,394 cases of Covid-19, with 1,361 deaths.

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