Number of virus fatalities in Morocco’s Jewish community reportedly rises to 11

Yamin Peretz, a relative of Israel’s Labor Party leader Amir Peretz, said to succumb to COVID-19 a week after his wife and son died from the same illness

Illustrative: An ambulance in Rabat, Morocco, April 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
Illustrative: An ambulance in Rabat, Morocco, April 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)

The number of Jews in Morocco to die from the coronavirus has risen to 11, with Israeli television reporting Wednesday that the latest fatality was another relative of Labor Party leader Amir Peretz.

According to Channel 12 news, Yamin Peretz, 74, died at a hospital in Casablanca, a week after his wife Simone and son Ari also died of COVID-19.

Pascal Peretz, Ari’s wife, was in serious condition and on a ventilator, according to the network.

All of them are relatives of the Labor MK.

“The blows are hitting us one after another. Almost everyday here there is a funeral of someone from the community who died from the coronavirus,” an unnamed member of the country’s Jewish community told the TV channel.

“We still had not recovered from the deaths of Ari and Simone and yesterday the father Yamin also passed. They were among the pillars of the community… we are praying that Pascal will survive,” he added.

Ari Peretz, who was 52, was a businessman known for his philanthropy.

“In the Jewish community they told of his contribution and the aid he gave to disadvantaged populations, Jews and Arabs,” Amir Peretz said last week. “Even the heads of the state and representatives of the royal court called me to express their sorrow.”

Temple Beth-El in Casablanca, Morocco, March 27, 2019. (Mishael Sims via AP)

The Jewish community in Morocco, which numbers around 2,000, believes many of the country’s Jews were infected during a large Purim party, according to Channel 12, similar to outbreaks in Jewish communities across the world.

Serge Berdugo, the leader of Morocco’s Jewish community, reportedly called on Jews to remain at home during Passover to avoid a fresh outbreak of the virus.

As of Tuesday, the official number of COVID-19 cases in Morocco was 1,120, including 80 fatalities.

The real numbers are likely to be significantly higher as there is a lack of testing gear in the country.

A pharmacist wears a mask next to a door covered in plastic to avoid contamination in Casablanca, Morocco, March 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)

Morocco imposed a public health state of emergency on March 19, confining everyone to their homes except those with a permit to be out and about for their work.

Police, security agents and soldiers in armored cars have been deployed around the country, erecting road barriers and control points.

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