The Moroccan government decided to extend the country’s state of emergency for three more weeks until June 10, the Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani announced on Monday during a parliamentary hearing session.
The state of emergency was initially imposed on March 19 as one of the measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the North African country.
“Since our country has chosen from the outset to give priority to the preservation of the health of its citizens and to put it above all other considerations, and since we have made a lot of progress so far, and in order to preserve this progress, both in terms of epidemics and health, it has been decided to extend the state of health emergency and to extend the lockdown for a period of 3 weeks,” El Othmani said.
According to the rules, people may only leave their homes to buy essential goods, like food or medicine, or go to work after receiving a permit from authorities.
Security agencies, with the support of the military, have been deployed to enforce the rules. Thousands of people have been arrested in the last few weeks for violating the emergency’s rules.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have seriously affected the livelihoods of millions of Moroccans, many of whom are informal workers dependent on odd jobs and do not have access to social safety nets.
Morocco, one of the worst-affected countries on the continent, has recorded 6,930 COVID-19 cases, with 192 deaths and 3,732 recoveries as of May 18, according to the Africa CDC.