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The New Arab

Moroccans who don't wear face masks in public face jail

Morocco is taking precautions [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 April, 2020

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Morocco has become the latest country to make it compulsory for people to wear face masks in public, in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19
Moroccans who leave their homes without wearing face masks could be slapped with prison sentences of up to three months and a fine of up to $126 (£102) under new government guidelines designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The new decree was announced on Monday following a government meeting about controlling the spread of the virus, and the order will take effect on Tuesday.

The order will be relevant to those leaving their homes during the coronavirus lockdown, which commenced in the middle of March.

Face masks will be sold at a subsidised price of $0.08 each in order maximise the number of people who have access to them.

Morocco plans to produce nearly six million face masks per day, which is almost double its current amount of 3.3 million, industry ministry spokesman Taofiq Moucharrraf told Reuters today.

The decision comes as the Covid-19 illness has officially killed 66 people and infected 960 in the North African country.

Morocco followed the direction of countries across the world in imposing a month-long public health state of emergency on 19 March, with strict restrictions.

People can leave their homes to buy essentials like food or medicine, and only those with permits could go to work.

Since then, more than 8,600 people have been arrested and prosecuted for breaking the law by failing to produce a permit, illegally transporting people or selling counterfeit goods amid the coronavirus epidemic.

Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Sunday also pardoned more than 5,600 prisoners and ordered their release in stages to avoid contagion in the country's overcrowded jails.

The justice ministry said the prisoners earmarked for the scheme would be selected based in their age, health, good conduct and length of detention.

They would be released in stages due to "exceptional circumstances linked to the emergency health situation and necessary precautions" against the virus, it said in a statement.

The Covid-19 virus, which was first detected in China's Wuhan province in December, has killed more than 75,299 people worldwide, while over 1,352,266 infections have been confirmed.

The majority of those that infected with corona experience only mild or moderate symptoms, including fever and a dry cough.

As of yet, there are no known treatments for the virus, though more than 287,679 have already recovered from the infection.

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