According to recent reports, Moroccans might have to spend some additional weeks under lockdown.
Rabat – The Moroccan government is set to announce its detailed post-lockdown strategy and decision on whether the country will extend its lockdown on Tuesday, June 9, after a government council meeting.
The government delayed the meeting, initially scheduled for June 8, by 24 hours in order to finalize the measures linked to an alleged extension of the lockdown, news outlet Le360 reported citing anonymous official sources.
“The government’s videoconference meeting has been reported, but discussions are still ongoing … between ministers and the Head of Government to refine the recommendations linked to the lockdown’s extension,” the news report said.
The nationwide lockdown, scheduled to end on June 10, is expected to extend by 10 to 15 days. However, the new alleged extension would be different from those that preceded it as it would allow the vast majority of economic sectors to restart their activity, the report added.
The news outlet first reported on a possible extension of Morocco’s COVID-19 lockdown on June 4, citing “sources close to the government.”
The extension, if proven true, would be the third of its kind since Morocco entered a lockdown on March 20. The lockdown’s initial end date, set on April 20, witnessed a first deferral to May 20 and then a second one to June 10.
In May, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani acknowledged the hardships Moroccans are going through under the lockdown and the socio-economic impacts of the unprecedented experience.
However, according to El Othmani, the nationwide lockdown is one of the main measures that helped Morocco “avoid the worst” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In several statements, Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb explained that Morocco can only safely lift the lockdown after the national coronavirus reproduction rate, known as R0, remains below 1.0 for more than two weeks, or less than 0.7 for maximum safety.
At the start of June, Morocco recorded unprecedentedly high numbers of recoveries from the coronavirus—434 on June 1, 517 on June 2, 456 on June 3, and 329 on June 4.
The number of new recoveries, exceeding the number of new COVID-19 cases, brought down the number of active cases in Morocco from 2,143 to 600 in just over three days. The figure had led many Moroccans to feel optimistic about the epidemiological situation in the country and the prospect of an on-schedule lockdown lift.
However, since June 5, the number of COVID-19 recoveries decreased and new cases witnessed an increase, boosting the number of active cases in the country to 672 as of 10 a.m. on June 8.