Human Rights

Morocco announces $1 billion fund to counter coronavirus outbreak

North Africa

Royal cabinet says fund will be created to upgrade health infrastructure, help vulnerable economic sectors such as tourism in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Morocco announced the creation of a 10 billion dirham ($1 billion) fund to upgrade health infrastructure and help vulnerable economic sectors in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak, the Royal Cabinet said on Sunday.

The fund will help acquire the necessary health equipment and assist vulnerable sectors such as tourism as well as help maintain jobs and mitigate the social repercussions of the pandemic, the Royal Cabinet said in a statement.

The statement came a few hours after Morocco suspended day all international passenger flights to and from its airports as a protective measure against the spread of coronavirus, the foreign ministry said as the North African country confirmed 28 coronavirus cases including one death and one recovery after confirming 11 news cases on Sunday.

The health ministry said the new cases were all from Europe: Six cases from Spain, two from France, two from Italy and a final case from Austria.

The ministry said the health status of the eleven confirmed cases was stable and not cause for concern.

Morocco shut its airspace, suspending Sunday all international commercial flights until further notice.

As a result, hundreds of tourists have been stranded at Morocco’s airports, waiting for their countries to repatriate them.

France announced that Rabat had agreed to allow special repatriation flights for its nationals.

“Some 40 flights are operating to France today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday) from several Moroccan cities and others will follow in the coming days”, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Twitter.

“I spoke again with my friend and Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita this morning, who is showing understanding,” Le Drian added.

According to information provided by Moroccan airports and embassy notifications, several other special flights were heading out of the North African country for Europe on Sunday, mostly to Belgium, Spain and Germany.

Morocco has taken several measures to curb the spread of the virus, closing schools and universities, cancelling sporting and cultural events and banning public gatherings of more than 50 people.

Public transport, including taxis, trains and buses, is still running across the country.

Organisers of Mawazine music festival, which was due to take place in June, announced its cancellation.

Image: Middle East Online

Article: Middle East Online