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Coronavirus: Morocco Allows Domestic Travel in Further Easing of Restrictions

posted on: Jun 23, 2020


Kingdom goes ahead with reopening of businesses in all but four provinces

Moroccans who tested positive for Covid-19 arrive in in the town of Moulay Bousselham, north of the capital Rabat, on June 20, 2020, before being transferred to a medical centre in another city. AFP

Morocco will ease coronavirus lockdown measures for the services sector and domestic transport from June 24, the government said.

Cafes, restaurants, sports clubs, and other services and entertainment businesses will be allowed to resume activity at half capacity except in the provinces of Tangier, Larache, Marrakech and Kenitra, where Covid-19 infections remain higher, it said.

Domestic travel will resume, including flights and railways, but international passenger traffic remains suspended.

Mosques have been closed since the lockdown started on March 20, and the state of emergency has been extended to July 10. Schools will reopen in September.

The announcement came as a new field hospital opened in eastern Morocco after more more than 500 cases were detected there on Friday, a record single-day rise for the kingdom.

Most of the cases were from an outbreak in fruit packing plants in eastern Kenitra province.

Authorities closed facilities, tested workers and launched an investigation to “establish responsibility” for the outbreak, official news agency MAP quoted Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit as saying.

The field hospital will receive “around 700 registered cases” from Sunday, he said.

Strawberry fields in Kenitra – usually busy with workers harvesting at this time of year – were deserted at the weekend.

Several towns in the region were placed under quarantine and screenings were carried out among residents, who were asked to go out only in cases of “extreme necessity”.

A dozen ambulances were stationed in Moulay Bousselham, one of the quarantined towns, ready to be sent to pick up confirmed cases.

Morocco, with a population of 34 million, has reported nearly 10,000 cases and 213 deaths from the novel coronavirus.