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Morocco's government extends coronavirus lockdown to May 20

Security forces order to stay home to people after state of emergency declaration as a precaution against coronavirus (COVID-19) in Rabat, Morocco on 20 March, 2020 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

Morocco is to extend its national lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus until May 20, the government said on Saturday, Reuters reports.

The decision was made by the government council as the number of confirmed cases rose to 2,685, including 137 deaths and 314 recoveries.

Lockdown measures imposed on March 20 mean people are only allowed to go out to buy food or medicine, and to staff some key jobs. Schools, mosques, non-essential shops and all entertainment venues have been closed.

READ: Morocco thwarts Israel-Emirate plan to evacuate its Jews

Morocco has made wearing masks mandatory, with those who fail to do so at risk of being fined or jailed.

The government has been paying wages of up to $120 to households whose main provider is unable to work and deferred taxes and loans for small businesses to ease the economic pain related to the lockdown measures.

The country’s economy is forecast to contract by 3.7% in 2020, according to International Monetary Fund estimates.

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