June 19, 2020 / 6:06 PM / 18 days ago

Morocco records biggest single-day rise in COVID cases

FILE PHOTO: Police officers patrol streets, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, on the outskirts of Casablanca, Morocco March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal/File Photo

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco’s Health Ministry reported 539 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the biggest daily rise so far, most of them in a cluster north of Rabat.

There are now 9,613 confirmed cases in Morocco, with a mortality rate of 2.2% and a recovery rate of 84.5%, according to official figures.

The government this month eased some lockdown measures in regions with low infection rates, but kept in place a ban on people leaving their homes without permits in areas with more cases, including some big cities.

The area around the cluster, some 150 km north of the capital, is covered by the permits but lockdowns are harder to enforce in rural and semi-rural areas. Most businesses are working again, but restaurants, cafes, cinemas and other enterprises in the vital services sector remain shut along with airports.

Businesses have been asked to test all their employees, as the country increased its daily testing capacity to over 17,500.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Alison Williams

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