Morocco's vaccine pass stumbles with new variant looming




  • In US
  • 2021-12-07 18:15:22Z
  • By Reuters
 

By Ahmed Eljechtimi

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco's experiment with vaccine mandates that spurred angry protests last month appears to be coming unloose, with most cafes, restaurants and train stations no longer asking customers to show their passes.

With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading, Morocco has continued its aggressive policy of countering the disease, stopping most air travel on top of its tough internal restrictions and high rate of vaccination.

A tour of Rabat commercial premises showed that only some big chains and shopping malls were still requesting proof of vaccination.

After the protests last month the government said businesses could also use a negative COVID-19 test instead of a pass showing proof of vaccination, but most business premises did not appear to be asking for either.

"I have never asked my customers to show me their vaccine pass. I have no right to ask them if they are vaccinated. All I can do is to ensure distance between tables," said a café owner in Rabat.

"I am not in a position of authority to ask people if they are vaccinated or not. I am only an indebted café owner," he said.

The union of cafe and restaurant owners, the lawyers union, rights groups and some opposition parties have attacked the pass as unconstitutional, arbitrary or a danger to the economy.

The government introduced the policy to encourage higher rates of vaccination - leading to a surge in people attending inoculation centres immediately after the policy was announced that started to slow soon afterwards.

Morocco is already Africa's most vaccinated country, having inoculated 22.7 million people with two jabs from the total population of 36 million. It has introduced booster shots.

"We still have to vaccinate 4.5 million people to reach the collective immunity target," said Dr Said Afif, member of the health ministry's scientific community.

Morocco is recording about 100 new cases and some three deaths every day, down from a peak in the summer.

However, the travel restrictions have hit the tourist hubs of Marrakech and Agadir.

"We fear tourists will think 1,000 times before picking Morocco as a destination because of the sudden border closures," said Taher Onsi, a union activist and restaurant owner in Marrakech.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, editing by Angus McDowall and William Maclean)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Vaccine mandate to kick in for first wave of health workers
Vaccine mandate to kick in for first wave of health workers
  • World
  • 2022-01-26 20:15:23Z

Health care workers in about half the states face a Thursday deadline to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine under a Biden administration mandate that will be rolled out across the rest of the country in the coming weeks. While the requirement is welcomed by some, others fear it will worsen already serious staff shortages if employees quit rather than comply.

From Amex to Walmart, here are the companies mandating the Covid vaccines for employees
From Amex to Walmart, here are the companies mandating the Covid vaccines for employees

As the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus struck communities nationwide last summer and fall, many companies stepped up their vaccination

Hakimi fires Morocco into quarter-finals after Malawi scare
Hakimi fires Morocco into quarter-finals after Malawi scare

Achraf Hakimi scored a brilliant free-kick to send Morocco through to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations after a 2-1 win over Malawi on Tuesday.

Biden administration officially withdraws vaccine rule
Biden administration officially withdraws vaccine rule
  • US
  • 2022-01-25 21:02:33Z

The Biden administration has officially withdrawn a rule that would have required workers at big companies to get vaccinated or face regular COVID testing...

Explainer-Germany plans vaccine mandate amid qualms over rights
Explainer-Germany plans vaccine mandate amid qualms over rights
  • US
  • 2022-01-25 18:13:59Z

German lawmakers are due to debate introducing a bill making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory. Why does Germany want to introduce a vaccine mandate? ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US