Morocco’s lockdown, which came into force on the 20th of March, is based on the division of the country into two zones. While the first of these zones is preparing to return to an “almost normal” life, the second remains restricted for the time being.
3 months of Lockdown
The return to “normal” life for all is not yet a reality in Morocco. While several countries are speeding up their reopening, the policy of King Mohammed VI focuses mainly on security. On 9 June, the health emergency was extended until 10 July, which means that assemblies are still banned, places of worship, cafés, and restaurants are closed and the wearing of masks is compulsory. “We waited three months and now are complaining for just three more weeks,” said Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani according to franceinfo.
The problem is that the gradual implementation of the plan to facilitate reopening, which began on 11 June, does not affect the whole country in the same way. It is the division of Morocco into two areas which is the basis for the containment which came into force on 20 March.
Zone 2, still on a softer lockdown until further notice
The first zone refers to the less populated regions and small and medium-sized cities, while the second zone includes the economic heart of the country, Casablanca, the capital Rabat, the very touristy Marrakech, and the large port of Tangier. So, if zone 1 is about to return to an “almost normal” life with the end of movement permits requirements and the reopening of open-air public spaces, zone 2 will remain restricted until further notice.
The Moroccan media have recently been increasingly calling for the lifting of measures affecting the inhabitants of large cities. “Lockdown is difficult, but it has enabled us to save lives,” the Prime Minister justified himself before Parliament on 10 June, again. Health indicators are improving. The mortality rate of COVID-19 in Morocco is 2.5% and 92% of cases are mild or asymptomatic. The situation varies from region to region, and still, from time to time, there are outbreaks.
Governors May Have the final say
However, it is expected that the living conditions of the Moroccan population in zone 2 will change faster than was planned. On the one hand, the Minister of the Interior, Abdelouafi Laftit, confirmed to the parliament on 15 June that the process of gradual reopening may be accelerated from 20 June. On the other hand, he announced that the governors have been instructed to adjust the assessment of the local health situation with regard to the reopening process when necessary.