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Will the specter of monkey pox impact the tourism recovery in Morocco?

As Moroccan tourism catches its breath after two blank years following the spread of the coronavirus, will the sector once again be put to the test following the danger of monkey pox after the discovery of a hundred of cases in the world?

Morocco experienced a scare after the discovery of 3 suspected cases of monkeypox which appeared in Casablanca, Beni Mellal and Ain Harouda, which later tested negative.

Indeed, the Minister of Health wanted to reassure, confirming that the country is, so far, spared from this virus, and that there is no need to worry, noting that there is a similarity between Monkeypox and other diseases.

Despite this denial, the danger of this smallpox continues to weigh on the world and could well affect Moroccan tourism if the cases continue to increase in the world.

A concern shared by a tourism player contacted by Hespress FR, who has reservations about a complete recovery of the sector fearing a new government decision.

“In this kind of situation, the government generally relies on security. For the moment we continue to work for the development of tourism and count on the return of the Marhaba operation which will help us to find colors “he told us, when the borders officially reopened on February 7th.

However, the danger of monkey pox has already impacted the fairgrounds and artists who provide entertainment in Jamaâ El Fna Square in Marrakech, in particular the owners of monkeys after the local authorities and city veterinarians seized them as a safety measure. .

The news added that a veterinary committee had visited the place, and had counted the monkeys, taken samples of their dander to submit them to laboratory analysis, in order to ensure that they were free from this news. epidemic, and had also provided medical instructions to monkey tamers.

Despite the repercussions on the city’s tourism, it would above all be a question of protecting local and foreign visitors, to encourage all the tamers of monkeys, snakes and other animals to take precautions, to be cautious, and to respect all the preventive measures to limit the spread of infection.

However, despite this danger, the government spokesman, Mustapha Baitas, reassured about the indicators of tourism in Morocco, by advancing figures including occupancy rates.

Estimates of the occupancy rate of hotel establishments during the summer season are very encouraging to regards of certain numbers of factors presaging positive results of the activity tourism for the current financial year“, highlighted Baitas, who noted that this rate should reach 80% for coastal destinations.

“The services of the Ministry of Tourism have mobilized, in coordination with the Moroccan National Tourist Office (ONMT), two million overnight stays through online reservations and 360,000 tourists via conventional reservations, as well as 4.25 million seats on board flights destined for Morocco”he added.

In the same vein, the Minister Delegate in charge of the Budget, Fouzi Lekjaa, indicated that the government had approved, at the beginning of the year, an emergency plan in the amount of 2 billion DH (MMDH) in favor of this tourism is a fundamental sector for the Kingdom’s economy.

As a reminder, on Thursday, some 219 cases of monkeypox were confirmed worldwide outside of countries where the disease is endemic, according to a report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

A total of 19 countries where the disease is unusual, most in Europe, have reported at least one confirmed case, the Center said in an epidemiological note released Wednesday evening.

Out of the 11 African countries where this rare disease is endemic, three countries currently concentrate most of the confirmed cases: the United Kingdom, the first country where unusual cases were spotted in early May (71 cases), Spain ( 51) and Portugal (37), according to the ECDC.

Europe concentrates most of the cases with 191 cases, including 118 in EU countries. Canada (15), the United States (9), Australia (2), Israel (1) and the United Arab Emirates (1) are the six non-European countries with cases considered confirmed.

Suspicious cases are not counted in the report.

The total number of cases recorded by the ECDC on Wednesday has almost quintupled since its first tally on May 20, when the agency counted 38 cases.

In its first risk assessment, the ECDC had however considered that the probability of contagion in the general population was “very low” but that it was on the other hand “high” in people with several sexual partners.

The World Health Organization (WHO), for its part, confirmed an “atypical” situation but deemed it possible to “stop” this transmission of the disease between humans.

The disease, a less dangerous cousin of smallpox, eradicated for about forty years, is endemic in 11 countries in West Africa and in Central Africa.

It first results in a high fever and quickly evolves into a rash, with the formation of scabs.

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