More than 60 cases of coronavirus infections have been recorded in a jail in southern Morocco, mostly among staff, the country’s prisons service said.
The DGAPR agency, in a statement late on Monday, said 60 workers and six inmates had tested positive for Covid-19 at the prison in the town of Ouarzazate after checks were carried out on all prisoners.
Nine staff and two inmates had previously tested positive at a jail in the southern city of Marrakesh and in Ksar Kebir, in the north of the kingdom, it said.
The prison service said that cases of contamination in Morocco’s prisons – which hold a total of 80 000 inmates – were under control because of “preventives measures” such as quarantines for workers with the respiratory disease.
At the start of April, more than 5 650 prisoners were released to reduce the risks of the spread of coronavirus, which has cost 144 lives in Morocco and contaminated more than 3 000 people.
Other Middle East and North African countries have also released prisoners, a measure UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has called for across the world as part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Morocco, a country of 35 million, has closed its borders and imposed a lockdown until May 20, enforced by security forces, to stem the spread of the disease.