RABAT, Morocco 

Morocco announced it is isolating the northern city of Tangier as of Monday to curb the spread of coronavirus outbreak in the city.

The Moroccan Interior Ministry said measures include the suspension of public transport — both road and rail — to and from Tangier.

Citizens will be able to travel within the city only through a special authorization obtained from the local authorities, according to the ministry.

The ministry also urged all citizens to stay at their homes and not to go out unless quite necessary.

These measures came after a surge in the number of new infections in the city, which is the main gateway to the country from the north.

Tangier currently accounts for almost 20% of the COVID-19 infections in Morocco with a total of 2,966 cases.

Morocco has been on lockdown since March 20, while the country on June 20 announced it would ease the restrictions.

In a statement, the Health and Interior ministries said the relaxation would take place in all areas as of June 24, except for the provinces of Marrakesh, Larache, Kenitra, and Tangier, as well as the Asilah town on the Atlantic coast.

Tangier is not the first city quarantined due to virus outbreak. On July 5, Moroccan authorities imposed a quarantine also in the southern city of Safi following a spike in the tally of infections.

Morocco has so far recorded a total of 15,821 coronavirus infections, including 253 deaths and 12,676 recoveries.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

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