Morocco’s government has decided to extend the state of emergency until July 10, 2020. The decision comes to ensure the country avoids the worst in the COVID-19 pandemic. (Reported by Morocco World News)

Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani chaired a government council meeting today, June 9 at 6 p.m. to discuss the decision on lifting lockdown.

The government announced the news after the meeting, just one day before the scheduled end of the lockdown period.

Morocco extended its state of emergency for a second time on May 18. Moroccan authorities made the decision after recognizing the role of lockdown in containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country relatively successfully, compared to many other countries.

In recent weeks, Morocco recorded thousands of recoveries, leaving less than 700 active COVID-19 cases in the country.

Morocco has now confirmed 8,438 COVID-19 cases, including 7,493 recoveries, and 210 deaths.

Moroccan officials vowed to lift lockdown gradually when the R0, or the virus reproduction rate, remains below 1.0 for more than two weeks. El Othmani said on May 18 that the R0 should be less than 0.7 for maximum safety.

The R0 represents the average number of people a single person with COVID-19 infects.

Moroccan officials, including El Othmani and Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb, have consistently acknowledged Morocco’s efforts and citizens’ patience and dedication to make the necessary fight against the COVID-19 crisis possible.