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Coronavirus : Local authorities in Lalla Mimouna under fire after discovery of new hotspots

The firm and immediate reaction of the Interior Ministry following the discovery of new coronavirus hotspots in industrial units near Kenitra explains how serious the situation is. The latter has put local authorities and employers in the region under fire.

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Local authorities tighten lockdown measures in the provinces of Kenitra, Larache and Ouazzane after the discovery of new coronavirus hotspots. / DR

One day after discovering hundreds of confirmed coronavirus cases within industrial units in Lalla Mimouna, a commune near Kenitra, fingers are pointed at the responsibility of the local authorities. Indeed, containment measures would not have been rigorously followed in the area, «out of complacency» towards the employers.

«It was only when this scandal broke out that barriers were put to block entry and the authorities imposed a curfew (…) This area has just started knowing containment», a source told Hespress. In May, the first tests carried out on the workers at the strawberry packaging plants had already confirmed Covid-19 infections. However, since then, employers have not reinforced the sanitary measures by regularly disinfecting the premises and applying social distancing rules.

Agro-industrial investors in Lalla Mimouna, a pillar of the local economy, would indeed have benefited from the laxity of the authorities, according to information obtained by Le Desk. «Thus, movement controls and the application of drastic measures would never have been imposed on residents despite the state of health emergency», the newspaper wrote.

A strict lockdown

While sources told Yabiladi on Friday that the number of infections would have exceeded 600, others suggest it could have reached 800 infections. On several occasions, workers in the area warned of the presence of a widespread occurence of the virus within their workplace, but their calls were not taken seriously. Their insistence, however, led to the expansion of screening measures, which revealed the existence of hundreds of cases.

As a result, the Interior Ministry decided, Friday, to tighten lockdown measures and restrictions in some communes in the provinces of Larache, Ouazzane, and Kenitra after the appearance of the new hotspots in some industrial units.

«Following the emergence of new hotspots within factories (FRIGODAR, specialized in the packaging of red fruits: 457 cases and NATBERRY MAROC, specialized in the production and packaging of red fruits: 103 cases), it was decided, as of Friday, to tighten lockdown restrictions and the preventive measures in some communes of the provinces of Larache, Ouazzane and Kenitra», the ministry said in a statement.

According to Le Desk, the situation in Lalla Mimouna forced the Wali (the highest authority in the region of Rabat-Salé-Kenitra) to visit the commune in question and a joint crisis cell between the Ministries of the Interior and Health was created to manage the situation.

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