Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Moroccan authorities allow restaurants and cafes to offer pick-up and delivery services May 29. Curfew of 1900-0500 remains in effect.

This alert affects Morocco

This alert began 29 May 2020 23:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, heightened security

Summary
Authorities in Morocco have begun easing some restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19); on May 29, authorities allowed restaurants and cafes to resume their business operations. Restaurants and cafes, however, are only allowed to offer delivery and pick-up services only, while abiding by health and social distancing guidelines at all times.

Authorities have also extended the existing health state of emergency from May 20 through June 10 as part of their efforts to slow COVID-19. The decree, which was initially introduced from March 20, prohibits residents from leaving their homes without permission from local authorities; failure to comply with the order will result in punitive action. Residents are allowed outside from 0500 to 1900 to perform essential tasks, such as purchasing groceries or medications and obtaining medical treatment. The edict exempts workers who are participating in the provision of health, food, fuel, banking, and telecommunications services.

Other measures taken by the government of Morocco include:

  • Nightly 1900-0500 curfew is in place nationwide until further notice.
  • On April 23, authorities extended Morocco's suspension of all flights to and from the country through May 31. The measure, which will likely be extended, does not include emergency and cargo flights.
  • All educational institutions are closed, and all political, social, and sporting events are canceled.
  • Cinemas, theaters, public clubs, and other entertainment venues are closed, though stores that sell necessities are exempt.
  • Sea travel to Spain, Gibraltar, and France is suspended, and the border with the Spanish autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, located on the north coast of Africa, is closed until further notice.


Authorities could institute further preventive restrictions, depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Morocco correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all business appointments and travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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