Morocco on Tuesday increased the nationwide night curfew timing from 9 pm to 5 am in a bid to slow surging coronavirus cases. The night curfew was previously in force from 11 pm to 4:30 am, reported Africa News.
The government has also stepped up travel restrictions to three major cities including Agadir, Casablanca, and Marrakesh. Notably, those who have had two vaccinations are exempt from the nighttime curfew and travel restrictions.
The other restrictions that continue to be imposed include a ban on gatherings of more than 25 people, a ban on funerals and wedding parties, as well as a 50 percent capacity limit on public transport, in cafes and in restaurants, and a 75 percent of capacity in hotels.
With a population of around 36 million people, Morocco has recorded over 642,000 coronavirus cases including almost 10,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The number of daily COVID-19 infections has oscillated between 4,000 and 9,000 over the past week.
The North African country started the COVId-19 vaccination campaign in January after receiving the first shipment of the Sinopharm vaccine.
Morocco is ahead of other African countries in its vaccine push, administering 24 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines. Over 14 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine.
Last week, the health authorities started administering Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses after receiving a shipment of 300,000 doses. On Monday, the vaccination was made open to people aged 25 and older.
In related news, the World Health Organization has said that coronavirus deaths in Africa rose rapidly over the past month, as fatalities surged by 80 percent within the last four weeks. The increasing death toll and rapid infection rate are being driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, which is considered to be more deadly than the original strain of coronavirus.