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17 Mar 2020 | 07:04 AM UTC

Morocco: Government closes businesses amid COVID-19 outbreak March 16 /update 8

Government calls for closure of restaurants, cafés, and theaters nationwide amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreak as of March 16; follow authority directives

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MAR

Event

The Moroccan government has called for the closure of restaurants, cafés, theaters, and cinemas nationwide as of Monday, March 16, in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. The order went into effect on Monday at 18:00 (local time), and also affects gyms and hammams. It will remain in place until further notice. Markets, grocery stores, and restaurants that operate delivery service are not affected.

Morocco's Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously announced on Sunday, March 15, that all international passenger flights to and from the country were suspended.

As of Tuesday, March 17, there are 37 COVID-19 cases in Morocco, including one death. 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.