Critical Alert

Authorities in Morocco implement coronavirus-related restrictions and 2200-0500 nightly curfew in Casablanca starting Oct. 5.


Alert Begins 04 Oct 2020 02:31 AM UTC
Alert Expires 16 Nov 2020 11:59 PM UTC

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

 

Summary
Authorities in Morocco are implementing a partial lockdown and a 2200-0500 nightly curfew in Casablanca Oct. 5-19, following a rise in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Only individuals with authorization from officials are allowed to enter or leave the city during the period. Local markets will shut by 1500; cafes will close at 2000, and restaurants at 2100.

Authorities previously extended the health state of emergency through Oct. 10 to combat COVID-19. Officials earlier announced plans to reopen the country's borders to authorized business visitors - travelers with an invitation from a Moroccan company to travel to the country and confirmed hotel reservations - from Sept. 10. The invitation from a Moroccan company must include the traveler's full name and passport number, the purpose of the visit, and the length of stay in the country. Royal Air Maroc (AT) has announced that it will accommodate and allow foreigners who meet the government's requirements to fly with the airline.

Officials have periodically reimposed restrictions in cities across Morocco due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. Restrictions include, but are not limited to, a ban all public gatherings and access to beaches and public spaces, such as gardens and sports centers, as well as the closure of businesses.

Nevertheless, nationwide several businesses and services, including hotels, intercity transport, and restaurants, have reopened, albeit under certain operating capacity limitations. Authorities also allow gatherings of more than 20 people in most regions; however, weddings, funerals, movie theaters, and public swimming pools will remain banned until further notice. Domestic flights and public transport, including train and bus services, are in operation.

International passenger flights remain suspended until further notice; however, some airlines operate limited repatriation and charter flights. Emergency and cargo flights are exempt. Sea travel to Spain, Gibraltar, and France remains suspended. The border with the Spanish autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, located on the north coast of Africa, is closed until further notice. All educational institutions are closed, and all political, social, and sporting events remain canceled.

For disease monitoring and tracking purposes, the Moroccan government has classified certain areas in the country as "Zone 1" or "Zone 2" regions based on the local level of COVID-19 activity. In Zone 1 regions, authorities have eased restrictions due to lower disease activity. Residents can leave their homes without special permits but must carry their national identity cards at all times. Certain commercial establishments, such as restaurants, cafes, hotels, beaches, and public baths, are allowed to reopen; all businesses must operate at 50 percent capacity and comply with the country's social distancing guidelines. Zone 2 areas are those where authorities have eased only some restrictions; individuals may not travel outside their municipality of residence without a special permit.

Authorities could further ease restrictions or introduce additional preventative measures, depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks.

 

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Morocco are similar to actions taken by other governments globally 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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