If confirmed, the extension will be the third of its kind in Morocco to contain the COVID-19 spread.
Rabat – Morocco’s government may decide tomorrow to extend the lockdown for at least another 15 days.
The lockdown is set to end on May 20 and Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani is scheduled to discuss the country’s post-lockdown strategy tomorrow, May 18.
Moroccan outlet Le360, however, quoted sources close to the government who said El Othmani will announce the extension of lockdown tomorrow at the parliamentary session.
According to the sources, El Othmani confirmed the extension during a meeting of the general secretariat of his party, the Justice and Development Party (PJD).
“Citizens will have to wait at least another two weeks before implementing progressive deconfinement,” the source said.
The source added that the extension seeks to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and the appearance of virus hotspots.
“We must maintain the usual precautions because we are not immune to an increase in contamination,” the source said.
The same source said that Morocco’s Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb is “totally opposed” to deconfinement given the current epidemiological situation.
Morocco originally set the end of its lockdown to April 20. Two days prior, the government council decided to extend confinement for another month until May 20.
Before the end of the first lockdown period, Le360 quoted a source alleging an extension of another month. The source proved to be correct on April 18 when the government announced the second extension.
However, on April 30, Le360 quoted government sources as expressing confidence that Morocco will lift its lockdown as scheduled and enter its deconfinement phase on May 20.
The outlet attributed the sources’ optimism to Morocco’s low COVID-19 mortality rate. At the time, the country had recorded 170 deaths related to the virus.
Morocco still maintains a low COVID-19 fatality rate of 2.8% and a recovery rate of 53.3%, with 192 deaths and 3,660 recoveries related to the pandemic. Total cases currently stand at 6,870, and Morocco reports more recovered patients than active infections.