Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior reiterated that it is compulsory for all individuals to wear protective facemasks anywhere outside home and threatened violators of the law with prison sentences and fines.
The ministry specified, in a communiqué released this Saturday July 25, that the regulation is in line with “a constant and continuous concern to preserve the health and safety of citizens,” and aims at “implementing all precautionary and preventive measures against the Coronavirus in order to curb its spread.”
“Following the laxity of certain individuals with regard to compliance with the mandatory measures established for this purpose, the public authorities recall that the wearing of masks is mandatory for all persons when getting outside the home,” the Interior Ministry said.
As Morocco continues to ease the state of emergency measures, the country maintains legal sanctions for those who breach public health regulations, such as the mandatory wearing of facemasks.
The penalties include a prison sentence of one to three months and a fine varying between 300 and 1,300 dirhams ($30 to $130), or one of the two penalties, the communiqué recalled.
It added that authorities “will not hesitate to apply the sanctions provided for by law against any person having violated the obligation to wear a protective mask.”
While wearing a mask alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19, medical professionals stress that face masks are critical to stemming the spread of respiratory droplets, which could lead to infection. In addition to wearing a mask, experts underline the equal importance of hand-washing and social distancing.
The Interior Ministry’s communiqué came as Morocco has been recording a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases over the past weeks.
Actually, over the past six weeks alone, Morocco has recorded as many COVID-19 cases as in the previous three and a half months, according to the Health Ministry and the daily records are much higher than their level during the strict lockdown.
The Friday tally that hit 570 was the highest in the country since the first case was reported on March 2, bringing to 18,834 the number of total contaminations while deaths are nearing 300, with a fatality rate of 1.6%.
The number of patients in critical condition is also increasing and more cases are staying in intensive care units, the Health Ministry said.
In terms of testing frequency, laboratories across Morocco are still increasing the number of COVID-19 tests with an average of over 18,000 tests per day.