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Morocco Makes Face Masks Compulsory, Egypt Reports Highest Daily Jump in Virus Cases

Morocco Makes Face Masks Compulsory, Egypt Reports Highest Daily Jump in Virus Cases

Tuesday, 7 April, 2020 - 04:30
Members of Morocco's Interior Ministry Auxiliary Forces instruct a man to return home in the capital Rabat, Morocco. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Morocco made wearing face masks mandatory starting on Tuesday for anyone allowed to go out during the coronavirus outbreak, the government said.

The masks will be sold at a subsidized price of 0.8 dirhams ($0.08) per unit. Those who fail to comply face prison sentences of up to three months and a fine of up to 1,300 dirhams, the government said in a statement on Monday.

Morocco plans to increase its daily mask production capacity to near 6 million next week from 3.3 million currently, Industry Ministry spokesman Taoufiq Moucharraf told Reuters.

Textile factories across the country have been encouraged to produce face masks, he said.

Morocco, which has imposed a month-long lockdown, confirmed as of Monday 1,120 coronavirus cases and 80 deaths.

Highest daily toll in Egypt

Egypt on Monday reported 149 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily toll since confirming the first infection in February.

The North African country, which also reported seven new fatalities on Monday, has so far recorded 1,322 cases including 85 deaths.

A total of 259 people had recovered from the fast-spreading disease and been released from hospitals as of Monday, Egypt’s Health Ministry said in a statement.

Egyptian officials have said that once the number of known infections surpasses 1,000, the task of tracing contacts and quarantining those affected would become harder.

However, Health Minister Hala Zayed Said in a televised briefing on Monday evening that “Egypt is one of the countries that has small number of infections compared to the population according to the standards of the World Health Organization.”

Egypt, the most populous Arab nation and home to 100 million people, has imposed a nightly curfew to counter the spread of the virus and closed its airports and tourist resorts.

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