Vacationers attempting to leave COVID-19 hotspots will face fines for violating travel restrictions.
Rabat – As COVID-19 continues to spread in Morocco, police are reportedly taking stronger measures to restrict travel from hotspots, fining holidaymakers who bypassed security checkpoints to vacation in the north.
Morocco’s government suspended travel to and from eight cities deemed hotspots on July 26 to control the spread of COVID-19 ahead of Eid Al-Adha.
Despite the security barriers in place to limit movement, travelers have circumvented restrictions and caused the virus to spread, according to Hespress. The Moroccan news outlet reports that travelers from COVID-19 hotspots such as Meknes, Fes, and Casablanca have bypassed blockades, seeking vacation destinations in the north.
Transmission of the virus to cities such as Chefchaouen, Martil, and M’diq has “prompted the authorities to intensify their presence at city entrances and exits in order to avoid a new wave of the virus,” according to the same source.
Increased security measures, particularly in the region of Tetouan, have enabled authorities to identify dozens of citizens who do not have the proper travel documents. The majority of those stopped came from cities such as Casablanca, Fez, and Kenitra.
To ensure travelers in Morocco respect the restrictions in place, police have begun issuing fines to those coming from COVID-19 hotspots, Hespress reported. Police have established additional checkpoints to monitor travelers’ license plates, ID cards, and travel documentation.
The increase in domestic travel comes after Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani encouraged members of the government and public sector officials to vacation inside the country, in an effort to encourage domestic tourism.
Despite rising COVID-19 cases, the Moroccan government had hoped domestic tourism could boost the suffering economy. However, the mass movement of Moroccans appears to have spread the virus further.
Since the beginning of August, Morocco has seen record numbers of new COVID-19 cases. This has led authorities to close dozens of infected neighborhoods to contain local outbreaks.