COVID-19: king orders free distribution of washable protective masks in poor neighborhoods in Morocco
King Mohammed VI instructed the Interior Ministry to proceed to the free distribution of washable facemasks to underprivileged citizens, reported the news outlet le360, quoting reliable sources. This measure is likely to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This large-scale operation concerns first of all the cities which have recorded a surge in the number of infections in recent days, namely the regions of Casablanca-Settat, Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Marrakech-Safi, Khénifra-Béni Mellal and Fès-Meknes.
Disadvantaged neighborhoods in other cities, such as Rabat’s twin city Salé, will also benefit from free washable protective masks.
Wearing a protective mask was made compulsory in public places in Morocco as of April 7. The Ministry of the Interior recalled, on July 26, the binding nature of this measure, specifying that any violation of this rule is punishable by a fine ranging from 300 to 1,300 dirhams or imprisonment from one to three months.
However, many people continue to resist wearing masks, especially in poor neighborhoods. The decision to distribute washable and reusable fabric masks free of charge is likely to slow the spread of the pandemic.
Since the beginning of August, Morocco has seen record numbers of COVID-19 cases. This has led authorities to tighten controls and close infected neighborhoods in several cities to contain local outbreaks.
Morocco’s Ministry of Health has reported this Tuesday 1,245 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Morocco to 44.803.
Meanwhile, the health ministry recorded 33 more fatalities, the highest daily toll since the first case was reported in Morocco on March 2, bringing the death toll to 714. So far, 31.002 patients have recovered.
The washable protective masks are reusable up to 40 times. These 100% cotton fabric masks are deemed effective in that they filter more than 90% of particles.
It should be remembered that wearing a mask, physical distancing and regular hand washing are the most effective barrier gestures to protect against contamination.