Rabat – Videos and photos circulating online show crowding and a lack of social distancing at Moroccan livestock markets prior to Eid Al Adha, which will take place on July 31.
Livestock markets, or souks, also known as “Rehba” in Moroccan Arabic (Darija), receive thousands of citizens wishing to buy a sheep or goat for Eid Al Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice).
The souks host thousands of livestock with prices ranging between MAD 1,500 and MAD 5,000 ($160 to $534), or even higher.
Eid rituals, however, are unprecedented this year due to the COVID-19 situation.
The government has been calling on all citizens to take preventive measures seriously, including ensuring social distancing and wearing masks in public.
A group of videos and photos, however, show a lack of respect for the preventive measures at Moroccan livestock markets.
Due to high temperatures and the uncomfortable requirement to wear face masks in public, some Moroccans tend to put the mask on their neck, chin, or even head.
Livestock markets in Morocco. Photo: Facebook
Livestock markets usually receive thousands of citizens leading up to Eid, wishing to inspect prices of sheep and goats before buying one.
For some Moroccans, going to livestock souks is a ritual. Citizens usually go to the souks to pick up a sheep or goat with their primary concern being the quality of the animal, not social distancing or wearing masks.
Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior, however, issued a press release recently calling on citizens to respect the preventive measures and the correct method of wearing face masks.
Moroccan Livestock Markets. Photo: Facebook
Health minister Khalid Ait Taleb echoed the statement, saying on Monday that face masks should cover both the nose and mouth to prevent the transmission of disease.
“It does not go under the mouth or on the neck. You should cover your nose and mouth with face masks,” he explained.
The number of COVID-19 cases has been increasing notably recently. Morocco recorded 500 COVID-19 cases today, July 28, as well as 11 deaths and 513 recoveries.
livestock markets in Morocco prior Eid Al Adha. Photo: Facebook
The number of new cases increased the total count to 21,387.
The number of recoveries reached 17,066.
The government believes the number will increase during Eid Al Adha as families usually gather together on religious holidays.