World News

Morocco to impose night curfew over coronavirus fears

FILE PHOTO: Doctor Meryem Bouchbika poses for a photograph with her colleague at Prince Moulay Abdellah hospital as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Sale, Morocco April 23, 2020. Picture taken April 23, 2020. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal/

RABAT (Reuters) - The Moroccan government said it will impose a three-week curfew from 9 p.m. (2000 GMT) to 6 a.m. (0500 GMT) starting on Wednesday, to try to contain the novel coronavirus.

Shops, malls and restaurants will have to close at 8 p.m. across the country, but in the hard-hit cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Agadir and Tangier restaurants were asked to shut down for three weeks

Morocco lifted a three-month lockdown in June, but maintained restrictive measures in some cities with higher infections.

On Monday, the country said it has recorded a total of 418,002 coronavirus infections, including 7,000 deaths.

Morocco has ordered vaccines from China’s Sinopharm and the UK’s AstraZeneca.Its economy is expected to contract by up to 7% this year due to the pandemic, the International Monetary Fund has said.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; editing by Barbara Lewis