Morocco reports record number of novel coronavirus cases

Police officers patrol streets, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, on the outskirts of Casablanca, Morocco March 25, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 05 July 2020

Morocco reports record number of novel coronavirus cases

  • The new figures bring the official total in Morocco to 14,132 infections and 234 deaths
  • The majority of the new infections were detected in a fish canning factory

RABAT: Morocco reported Sunday 698 additional novel coronavirus infections, the highest one-day increase since the outbreak began in early March, with numerous cases discovered in a port city factory.
The new figures bring the official total in the North African kingdom to 14,132 infections and 234 deaths, according to the health ministry.
The majority of the new infections were detected in a fish canning factory in the southern port city of Safi.
The city was quarantined overnight Saturday to Sunday and its around 300,000 inhabitants placed under a total lockdown, media reports Sunday quoted local authorities as saying.
Morocco, with a population of around 35 million, eased virus-related restrictions on June 25, reopening cafes, restaurants, hotels and sports halls. It also allowed domestic tourism and inter-city travel.
Authorities had earlier in June begun to lift lockdown measures put in place to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic’s spread in mid-March.
However, a public health state of emergency has been extended until July 10, mask-wearing continues to be mandatory and borders will remain closed until further notice.
Half a dozen towns remain under strict measures due to “work-related” virus outbreaks, notably in the west of the country where hundreds of cases were detected on strawberry farms in June.


Iranian Guard holds anti-warship ballistic missile drill

Updated 37 min 41 sec ago

Iranian Guard holds anti-warship ballistic missile drill

  • Footage showed two missiles smash into a target that Iranian state television described as “hypothetical hostile enemy ships”
  • In recent weeks, Iran has increased its military drills as the country tries to pressure President-elect Joe Biden over the nuclear accord

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard conducted a drill Saturday launching anti-warship ballistic missiles at a simulated target in the Indian Ocean, state television reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program and a US pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic.
Footage showed two missiles smash into a target that Iranian state television described as “hypothetical hostile enemy ships” at a distance of 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles). The report did not specify the type of missiles used.
In the first phase of the drill Friday, the Guard’s aerospace division launched surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and drones against “hypothetical enemy bases.” Iranian state television described the drill as taking place in the country’s vast central desert, the latest in a series of snap exercises called amid the escalating tensions over its nuclear program. Footage also showed four unmanned, triangle-shaped drones flying in a tight formation, smashing into targets and exploding.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased amid a series of incidents stemming from President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Amid Trump’s final days as president, Tehran has recently seized a South Korean oil tanker and begun enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels, while the US has sent B-52 bombers, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine into the region.
In recent weeks, Iran has increased its military drills as the country tries to pressure President-elect Joe Biden over the nuclear accord, which he has said America could reenter.
Iran fired cruise missiles Thursday as part of a naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, state media reported, under surveillance of what appeared to be a US nuclear submarine. Iran’s navy did not identify the submarine at the time, but on Saturday, a news website affiliated with state television said the vessel was American. Helicopter footage of the exercise released Thursday by Iran’s navy showed what resembled an Ohio-class guided-missile submarine, the USS Georgia, which the US Navy last month said had been sent to the Arabian Gulf.
Iran has missile capability of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), far enough to reach archenemy Israel and US military bases in the region. Last January, after the US killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, Tehran retaliated by firing a barrage of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops, resulting in brain concussion injuries to dozens of them.
Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the US from Iran’s nuclear deal, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Trump cited Iran’s ballistic missile program among other issues in withdrawing from the accord.
When the US then increased sanctions, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.