Security services in Morocco arrested 624,543 people between July 25 and October 23 for not wearing face masks in public spaces. The figure includes more than 98,000 people who appeared in court and faced formal charges.
Morocco’s Minister Delegate at the Ministry of the Interior, Noureddine Boutayeb, announced the figures on Monday.
Speaking before the House of Representatives, Boutayeb presented information relating to the efforts of Morocco’s public authorities and security services to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The citizens arrested for not wearing face masks in public have all paid fines, the minister delegate said.
According to Morocco’s Decree-Law 2.20.292, people arrested for not wearing face masks in public have to pay a fixed fine of MAD 300 ($33) in order to avoid trial.
If the offenders do not pay the fine 24 hours after their infraction is recorded, security services transfer them to court.
Article 4 of Decree-Law 2.20.292 provides for prison sentences ranging from one to three months and a fine of MAD 300 to MAD 1,300 ($33-$142), or one of the two penalties.
Boutayeb assured that the strict regulations concern both the domestic population and foreigners coming from abroad. The Ministry of the Interior has mobilized important human resources at all the entry points to the Moroccan territory, he said.
Incoming visitors need to present a recent negative result of a COVID-19 test before they can enter Morocco. They also need to present a hotel reservation or a formal business invitation after they land.
As for outgoing citizens, Moroccans need to present a special travel permit that shows the reasons why they are going abroad. Since Morocco allowed this type of travel, public authorities issued a total of 62,569 permits, Boutayeb announced.
Besides the strict monitoring, public authorities have launched vast awareness campaigns, in collaboration with local NGOs, the delegate minister said.
Some of the campaigns, in various regions in Morocco, included the distribution of free face masks and disinfectants to local populations, he added.
Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior also distributed food aid to populations in remote areas. As of October 2, local authorities distributed goods valued at MAD 1.1 billion ($120.1 million) that benefited 4.15 million Moroccans.
Finally, Boutayeb recalled that public authorities made 421 hotels and tourist accommodations, with a total capacity of 26,000 beds, available for medical staff and health officials.
Some accommodations were also reserved for quarantining COVID-19 patients and suspected cases.