Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Morocco extend health state of emergency and 1800-0600 curfew through May 20 to combat spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Morocco

This alert began 18 Apr 2020 17:18 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 20
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, heightened security

Summary
On April 18, Moroccan authorities extended the country's existing health state of emergency and 1800-0600 curfew through May 20 as part of their efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The decree, which was initially introduced March 20, prohibits residents from leaving their homes without permission from local authorities; failure to comply with the order will result in punitive action. Nonetheless, residents are allowed freedom of movement from 0600 to 1800 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:

  • Closure of all educational institutions and cancellation of political, social, and sporting events;
  • Closure of restaurants, cinemas, theaters, public clubs, and other entertainment venues, with stores that sell necessities and restaurants having delivery services being exempt;
  • Suspension of all flights to and from Morocco; suspension of sea travel to Spain, Gibraltar, and France; and the closure of the border with the Spanish autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, located on the north coast of Africa.


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.

Resources
World Health Organization: www.who.int

Moroccan Ministry of Health: www.sante.gov.ma