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.


Haftar agrees to lift Libya oil blockade with conditions

Updated 18 September 2020

Haftar agrees to lift Libya oil blockade with conditions

  • Pro-Haftar groups supported by the Petroleum Facilities Guard blockaded key oilfields and export terminals on January 17

BENGHAZI: Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar announced Friday a conditional lifting of a months-long blockade on oilfields and ports by his forces.
“We have decided to resume oil production and export on condition of a fair distribution of revenues” and guarantee they “will not be used to support terrorism,” he said on television.
Pro-Haftar groups supported by the Petroleum Facilities Guard blockaded key oilfields and export terminals on January 17 to demand what they called a fair share of hydrocarbon revenues.
The blockade, which has resulted in more than $9.8 billion in lost revenue, according to National Petroleum Company (NOC), has exacerbated electricity and fuel shortages in the country.
Dressed in his military uniform, Haftar said the command of his forces had “put aside all military and political considerations” to respond to the “deterioration of living conditions” in Libya, which has Africa’s largest oil reserves.
The announcement comes after hundreds of Libyans protested last week in the eastern city of Benghazi, one of Haftar’s strongholds, and other cities over corruption, power cuts and shortages in petrol and cash.
Protesting peacefully at first, protesters on Sunday set fire to the headquarters of the parallel eastern government in Benghazi and attacked the police station in Al-Marj.
Police officers fired live ammunition to disperse them in Al-Marj, leaving at least one dead and several wounded, according to witnesses and the UN mission in Libya.
Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
The country’s oil revenues are managed by the NOC and the central bank, both based in Tripoli, which is also the seat of Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
Haftar runs a rival administration based in the country’s east.
Haftar— who has the backing of Egypt, the UAE and Russia — launched an offensive against Tripoli in April last year.
After 14 months of fierce fighting, pro-GNA forces backed by Turkey expelled his troops from much of western Libya and pushed them to Sirte, the gateway to Libya’s rich oil fields and export terminals.