Tangier and Fez are witnessing some of the strictest lockdown measures in Morocco.
Rabat – Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces (FAR) have deployed many armored personnel carriers (APCs) in Tangier and Fez to enforce the preventive measures against COVID-19.
Several photos and videos on social media show the armored vehicles patrolling the streets of the two cities to monitor compliance with safety measures.
انتشرت اليوم بمدينة طنجة وحدات “دعم” التابعة للقوات المسلحة الملكية ضمن اجراءات حالة الطوارئ الصحية ببلادنا.
Military vehicles densely patrolled the regions and neighborhoods with high counts of COVID-19, including the roads leading to Tangier’s industrial zones and some of Fez’ popular neighborhoods.
The Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region is currently the second-most affected region in Morocco, recording 23.39% of the country’s cases. Meanwhile, Fez-Meknes is the third-most affected region, reporting 16.28% of the national case count.
In recent weeks, Morocco multiplied efforts to put the COVID-19 spread in Tangier and Fez under control.
On July 26, the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Health banned travel to and from Tangier and Fez, along with six other major cities.
The decision, which came five days before Eid al-Adha, caused frustration among citizens who were planning to spend the religious feast with their relatives.
A few days prior to the government’s decision, the Wali (Governor) of Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima banned workers in the Tangier Free Zone from leaving the city during Eid al-Adha. The Tangier Free Zone hosts many factories and production units that witnessed major COVID-19 outbreaks.
Strict lockdown returns
The continuous rise in COVID-19 indicators in Tangier and Fez, despite the strict measures being taken, led Morocco’s government to reimpose a lockdown on the two cities on August 5.
According to the new regulations, Tangier and Fez residents cannot leave their city without an exceptional movement permit, and all gatherings are banned.
Shops, cafes, and commercial centers in the city must shut at 10 p.m., while restaurants need to close their doors at 11 p.m.
Authorities also banned access to public spaces, such as gardens, sports complexes, and beaches.
Finally, public transport reduced its maximal capacity to 50% of the available seats, instead of 75%.
The lockdown measures are even stricter in neighborhoods that witnessed COVID-19 hotspots. In these neighborhoods, citizens are banned from leaving their homes without an exceptional movement permit.
Shops, cafes, and restaurants must shut their doors at 8 p.m., while markets have to close at 4 p.m.
Moreover, hammams (public baths) and beauty salons can no longer operate in the concerned neighborhoods.
The lockdown measures imposed on Tangier and Fez are some of the strictest in all of Morocco. However, it remains to be seen whether they will succeed in curbing the spread of COVID-19.