Morocco to impose night curfew over coronavirus fears

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FILE PHOTO: Doctor Meryem Bouchbika poses for a photograph with her colleague at Prince Moulay Abdellah hospital in Sale

RABAT (Reuters) - The Moroccan government said it will impose a three-week curfew from 9 p.m. (2000 GMT) to 6 a.m. (0500 GMT) starting on Wednesday, to try to contain the novel coronavirus.

Shops, malls and restaurants will have to close at 8 p.m. across the country, but in the hard-hit cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Agadir and Tangier restaurants were asked to shut down for three weeks

Morocco lifted a three-month lockdown in June, but maintained restrictive measures in some cities with higher infections.

On Monday, the country said it has recorded a total of 418,002 coronavirus infections, including 7,000 deaths.

Morocco has ordered vaccines from China's Sinopharm and the UK's AstraZeneca.Its economy is expected to contract by up to 7% this year due to the pandemic, the International Monetary Fund has said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; editing by Barbara Lewis)