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20 Mar 2020 | 05:39 AM UTC

Morocco: Government declares state of emergency March 19 /update 9

Moroccan government declares state of emergency, implements domestic restrictions amid COVID-19 spread March 19; follow authority directives

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MAR

Event

On Thursday, March 19, Moroccan authorities declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and will restrict movements domestically as of Friday, March 20. As of 18:00 (local time), movement is restricted, and 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.

As of March 20, there are 63 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, including two deaths. 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.