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World News

Morocco's government extends coronavirus lockdown to May 20

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

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.

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 1,200 dirhams ($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.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Christina Fincher and Mike Harrison

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