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07 Apr 2020 | 07:54 AM UTC

Morocco: Face masks required in the public space as of April 7 /update 11

Authorities require use of face masks in public starting April 7 amid COVID-19 spread; follow authority directives

health
transportation
MAR

Event

Moroccan authorities have made the use of face masks mandatory in the public space starting on Tuesday, April 7. Those who do not abide by the policy will face prison sentences of up to three months and fines of 1300 dirhams (USD 127). As a result, face masks are being sold at a subsidized price to ensure access.

Morocco is currently under a month-long lockdown in which movement is restricted domestically as of Friday, March 20. Moroccans are only permitted to leave their homes to shop for food and medicine, or to go to work with the required permits issued by authorities. The suspension of intercity transportation was implemented on Saturday, March 21, with exceptions for those traveling for health and professional needs.

Restrictions on travel began Friday, March 20. As of 18:00 (local time) when the government announced that Moroccans will not be permitted to leave their homes unless it is to shop for food and medicine, or to go to work with required permits from authorities. The government also called for the closure of restaurants, cafés, theaters, and cinemas nationwide as of Monday, March 16. All international passenger flights to and from the country have been suspended since Sunday, March 15.

Other restrictions may be implemented under the state of emergency declaration, announced on Thursday, March 19.

As of Tuesday, March 7, there are 1141 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 83 deaths and 88 recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

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.