June 15 – 21, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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June 21, 2020: Resumption of domestic flights in the kingdom from June 25, 2020

Following the joint communiqué issued by the Ministries of Interior, Health, Industry, Trade, Green and Digital Economy, allowing a lightening of the sanitary confinement, the Ministry of Tourism, Handicraft, Air Transport and Social Economy announced, on Sunday, in a press release, the resumption of domestic flights in the Kingdom from Thursday June 25, 2020.

In order to guarantee the safety of passengers, staff, as well as of all the users of air transport, the national airlines as well as the National Airports Office have put in place a battery of sanitary measures in accordance with international standards such as strict and regular cleaning and disinfection, systematic temperature controls, the wearing of face masks, said the Ministry, noting that movement between zones 1 and 2 is subject to the same restrictions as for other modes of transport, namely the requirement to have a professional authorisation (mission order) or an exceptional authorisation issued by the local authorities for reasons of force majeure.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

21 June, 2020: The second phase of deconfinement will start on June 24, 2020 at midnight

A joint press release by the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and the Green and Digital Economy stipulates that on the basis of the decision taken by the public authorities to move to the second phase deconfinement from 24 June 2020 at midnight, and taking into account the need to strike a balance between the changing epidemiological situation in the Kingdom and the requirements of a gradual return to normal life, a set of measures have been adopted.

Measures for the resumption of economic activities at the national level:

Coffee shops and restaurants can provide their services, without exceeding 50 per cent of their capacity.
Resumption of commercial activities in shopping centres, large shopping complexes under specific conditions.
Reopening of leisure and entertainment shops, such as gyms and public bathrooms, with a maximum of 50% of their capacity.
Resumption of activities related to audiovisual and cinematographic production.
Resumption of public transport between cities, by road or rail, under specific conditions.
Resumption of domestic flights, under specific conditions.

New Measures in Zone 1:

Movement between regions, provinces and prefectures classified in zone 1 is allowed, provided that the national identity card is presented.
Reopening of beach areas, while respecting the physical distance required for protection.
Reopening of proximity sites/fields located in the open air.
Resumption of national tourist activities and opening of tourist institutions provided that they do not exceed 50% of their accommodation and food capacity.

New Measures in Zone 2:

Circulation is allowed in the area of employment or territory, without “exceptional mobility permit”.
It is compulsory to have a professional licence (mission order) or an exceptional licence issued by the local authorities in order to leave the area employment and territory.
Lifting the procedure for closing shops at 8 p.m.
Reopening hair and beauty salons, with no more than 50% of their capacity.
Reopening of open-air public spaces, including parks, gardens and public places.
Resumption of individual outdoor sports activities, such as walking and cycling.

It was also decided to maintain, at the national level, all other precautionary restrictions that had been previously approved in the event of a health emergency (closure of museums, cinemas, theatres, public swimming pools, assembly blocks, weddings and funerals …).
To ensure the success of these measures, the public authorities call on all citizens to continue their full commitment and strict compliance with all precautionary measures and stress that, in the event of a new outbreak of the pandemic, the necessary measures will be taken to reduce its negative impact.

For more information, please consult (in Arabic) the following link.

June 20, 2020: Establishment of a field hospital in Sidi Yahya El Gharb to receive nearly 700 cases registered in an epidemiological outbreak in the province of Kenitra.

Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit announced on Saturday in Rabat that following the outbreak of coronavirus in some units specializing in the packaging of red fruits in the province of Kenitra, a field hospital has been set up in the commune of Sidi Yahya El Gharb to receive nearly 700 cases registered in this outbreak.

In a statement to the press, Mr Laftit said that following the outbreak, several measures have been taken including the carrying out of screening tests for all employees and the closure of all these units, adding that all these cases will be transferred to this hospital from Sunday morning.

The Minister also noted the tightening of sanitary containment measures in the communes under the jurisdiction of the provinces of Kenitra, Ouazzane and Larache where these employees come from, calling on the citizens of these communes to strictly respect these measures in order to stop this outbreak as soon as possible and for life to resume its normal course in this region.

He also noted that these cases were discovered during tests carried out in all industrial, commercial and other units, which made it possible to detect this outbreak and bring it under control quickly. The Minister also indicated that testing has been carried out for all contact persons, adding that this operation is continuing to date.

Finally, He announced that it has been decided to open an investigation into the matter by a commission made up of the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Labour and Interior to identify the reasons for this outbreak.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 19, 2020: Reinforcement of restrictions in Ouezzane, Larache and Kenitra (Ministery of Interior)

According to a statement issued by the Interior Ministry, “a strengthening of restrictions in communes in Larache, Ouezzane and Kenitra” will be effective from this Friday. The decision is justified by “the appearance of new outbreaks of contamination in certain industrial units,” the statement said.

The ministry of interior directly mentions the industrial units, naming them : Frigodar and Nat Berry Morocco. The first recorded 457 cases and the second 103 cases.

The communication adds that “these communes will be strictly controlled, forbidding its inhabitants to leave their homes, except in cases of force majeure and taking the necessary sanitary precautionary measures”.

As a reminder, according to the latest report of the Ministry of Health, more than 457 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the region of Rabat-Salé-Kenitra.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 19, 2020: As of midnight on June 24, all provinces and prefectures move to zone 1 except Tangier, Asilah, Larache, Kenitra and Marrakech.

According to a joint communiqué from the Ministries of the Interior and Health, the authorities announced that as of midnight on 24 June, all provinces or prefectures will be reclassified to include them in Zone 1.

However, the following provinces and prefectures will remain in Zone 2: Tangier, Asilah, Marrakech, Larache and Kenitra.
The press release also announces that the country is moving to stage 2 of the plan to reduce containment, taking into account the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 19, 2020: Coronavirus in Morocco- Explanation of the 539 registred on June 19

Five hundred thirty-nine (539) new cases of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) have been registered in Morocco since Thursday at 6 p.m., the Ministry of Health announced Friday.

This new assessment brings to 9,613 the number of contaminations in the Kingdom since the declaration of the first case on March 2, 2010, and to 8,117 the number of people fully recovered, representing a recovery rate of about 84.5% after the registration of 76 new recoveries in the last 24 hours, said the head of the department of epidemic diseases at the Directorate of Epidemiology under the Ministry of Health, Hind Ezzine. The number of deaths has stabilized at 213, representing a case-fatality rate of 2.2%, she added, noting that the number of cases excluded after negative laboratory test results is 496,023.

With regard to active cases, the official noted that 1,283 patients are currently under treatment or under medical follow-up, adding that of these active cases, 10 are in a serious condition, namely 4 in the region of Casablanca-Settat, 5 in Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima and only one case in the region of Marrakech-Safi.

The new contaminations are concentrated in the regions of Casablanca-Settat (13 cases), Marrakech-Safi (29 cases), Fez-Meknes (13 cases), Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima (27 cases), and Rabat-Salé-Kénitra with 457 new contaminations, Ezzine said. The regions of Drâa-Tafilalet, l’Oriental, Beni Mellal-Khenifra, Souss-Massa, Guelmim-Oued Noun, Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra and Dakhla-Oued Eddahab have not recorded any new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, she said.

The 457 new cases registered in the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region were observed in the workplace, thanks to early detection of the virus, she said, adding that patients showed no symptoms of the disease.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 19, 2020: Which sites and areas have contributed to increasing the numbers of infections on June 19?

The Ministry of Health registered 206 new cases of coronavirus contamination (COVID-19) on Friday 19 June at 10 a.m. Two outbreaks of contamination are at the source of this increase in the number of cases.

While new deconfinement measures are expected on Saturday 20 June, Moroccans were surprised to see that the Ministry of Health has announced 206 new cases of coronavirus contamination. For the moment, the department of Khalid Ait Taleb has not yet officially communicated on the subject while the regional numbers show a predominance of cases in the region of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra, that is 164 new cases.

Contacted by TelQuel, a source at the Ministry of Health tells us that cases in this region are particularly concentrated in the province of Kenitra and its rural communes. “The new cases have been registered among the contacts of the cases detected this week,” said our interlocutor, who said that these cases are mostly from the rural communes of Moulay Bousselham and Sidi Mohamed Lahmar.

“The contaminated people work in factories in the industrial zone of Kenitra, but a large part has been registered among people working in strawberry farms,” our source continues. These revelations come as an audio recording has been circulating on WhatsApp for the past two days alerting that there are more than 90 cases of coronavirus contamination in strawberry farms in the province of Kenitra. The audio also calls for avoiding the consumption of strawberries that “could be a source of contamination with the new virus”.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 18, 2020: Screening booths offered in Morocco by the Korean agency Koica

The Korean International Cooperation Agency (Koica) donated five walk-through booths for coronavirus testing (COVID-19) to Morocco. The aim is to support the Kingdom in its fight against the pandemic.

In a statement, the Koica points out that these testing booths are being offered to Morocco in the framework of Moroccan-Korean cooperation and that they are known for the rapid and safe screening of COVID-19.

With regard to the operation of this equipment, the Agency specifies that a medical staff member without personal protective equipment is installed inside the positive pressurised cabin for the extraction of patient samples. The same source adds that patients to be tested will be queuing outside the cabin. The initiative will thus provide medical staff with a safe, secure and less risky working environment, as well as ensure the mass screening of COVID-19 in a reduced time frame.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 18, 2020: Confinement – Worries about “devastating effect” on children

“Boredom”, “trauma”, “devastating effect”: more and more voices in Morocco are questioning, even worrying, about the harmful effects of the confinement in force since mid-March on children.

Following the announcement on 9 June that measures would be maintained in one part of the country, along with a one-month extension of the state of health emergency, the Moroccan Paediatric Society sent a letter to the Minister of Health to “draw his attention to the devastating effect” of containment on children.

Massively reprinted in the local press, the letter from this professional association calls for consideration of “the psychological impact and the trauma that results from it”. It advocates “taking measures to make the situation more flexible so that children can leave their homes” while respecting “barrier measures”.

“We are not questioning… the measures that enabled us to protect ourselves against COVID-19. What we are asking is (…) that the child can go out one to three hours a day,” its president, Dr. Hassan Afilal, told AFP, arguing that outdoor outings are also “low-risk.

In children, this prolonged confinement can lead to a “loss of reference points,” with “behavioural problems,” “irritability” and “sleep disruption,” says the specialist.

Since the publication of the letter, testimonies have multiplied on social networks: “My eight-year-old son is depressed: he has been locked up for three months, cries all the time and suffers from chronic migraines,” writes a father.

“He can’t stand being locked up any longer. He was looking forward to June 10, hoping the lockdown would be lifted, but it’s been a cold shower. I no longer have the words to console him,” testifies another.

Morocco, with a population of 35 million, remains relatively unaffected by the new coronavirus, with 8,985 contaminations and 212 officially recorded deaths.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 17, 2020: Anger at water and electricity bills- Rédal explanations

The first water and electricity bill received by the Moroccans, after three months of meter reading suspension, sparked their anger. Some went on a rampage both in the streets and on social networks. While water and electricity operators did not resume reading meters until 1 June, after three months of suspension of meter-reading rounds and distribution of bills, Internet users considered the June bill ‘exaggeratedly high’.

For Rédal, the water and electricity distributor of the capital, which has nearly 700,000 customers for electricity and 600,000 for water (1.3 million meters), the cause of this increase in bills is none other than the change in the level of consumption or consumption habits of customers, following the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced them to confine themselves to their homes throughout this period.

In an interview with Hespress Fr, Abdessamad Zahri, director of customer and marketing at Rédal, said that this is “a rather special context”, noting that despite the suspension of meter reading, there was an estimate of consumption for the months of April and May, according to the average consumption of each customer during the same period in 2018 and 2019, i.e. April and May 2018/2019.

“Around the last week of March, all water and electricity distributors in Morocco received a note of instruction and recommendations detailing actions to be taken. Rédal has complied 100% with the instructions of the public authorities, including stopping the reading of meters as of March 23rd, the non-distribution of paper bills, or the estimation of consumption, according to precise rules”. he explained.

With regard to the estimate for April and May, the person in charge assured us that when the authorities’ instructions were applied to the letter, the reality was quite different. “Before the pandemic, people left their homes at 7am and did not return until after 6pm, an average of 10 hours outside the house, and therefore consumption was low. During the period of confinement, children stopped school and were confined to their homes, teleworking began, and consumption levels and patterns changed. If a client was used to consuming 10 m3 or 150kwh per month, and received a bill of 250 dhs, you just have to observe how many times he used the shower in his home, composed for example of a family of 5 people, how many times they charged their phone, how many times they used the lighting in the rooms. All this usage was not possible before the pandemic.

he continued: “for a customer who received a monthly bill not exceeding 250 dhs, his consumption, during this period of containment, doubled, even tripled.”

All of these factors, he says, have caused water and electricity bills to rise.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 17, 2020: Driver’s license exams to start on June 24th in Zone 1

Vehicle registration centers will resume, on June 24 in localities classified in deconfinement zone 1, their activities related to driver’s license exams, the National Road Safety Agency (NARSA) said Tuesday in a statement.

The same source specified that the vehicle registration centres in zone 1 will thus begin to organize theoretical and practical examinations to obtain driving licences from the above-mentioned date, stressing that the driving schools concerned can receive the candidates and supervise them according to the health procedures stipulated in the agreement recently signed between the agency and professionals in the sector.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 16, 2020: Morocco launches a Humanitarian Appeal, supported by 171 countries, to the United Nations

Morocco has launched humanitarian aid for 15 African countries. The permanent representative of Morocco in New York, Omar Hilale, in his capacity as president of the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, launched a “Call for Action to Support the Humanitarian Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic” in New York.

The Humanitarian Appeal received record support from 171 countries from all regional groups, representing nearly 90 per cent of the membership of the United Nations. This is a real diplomatic accomplishment that Morocco has achieved by uniting almost all UN members, from all continents and all levels of development, to address the impact and negative effects of this pandemic on humanitarian work and people living in humanitarian crises.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 16, 2020: 300 Moroccans stranded in Turkey repatriated, this Tuesday

The Moroccan government will repatriate, this Tuesday, June 16, 300 compatriots stranded in Turkish territory because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Royal Air Maroc (RAM) company will provide these various shuttles.

Three flights are also planned for this operation. Each aircraft will carry about 100 passengers, within the framework of health safety. According to Hespress, planes departing from Casablanca to Istanbul should disembark their passengers at the Saniat Rmal airport in Tetouan on Tuesday afternoon. They will then be directed to the tourist centres and facilities on the coast between Tetouan and Fnideq, at “Tamouda Bay” for 9 days quarantine before returning to their homes and families.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 15, 2020: In front of the deputies, Laftit highlights Moroccans’ support for the State’s measures

Taking into account the various remarks made the day after the Head of Government’s visit last week to the elected representatives, the Minister of the Interior insisted on the place of citizens in the authorities’ efforts to stem the pandemic of the new coronavirus.

The Minister of the Interior has not been short of praise on the “responsiveness of the entire Moroccan people with the measures put in place by the authorities to protect citizens”, highlighting “the commitment of the various stakeholders and citizens”. Praise also goes to trade unions, political parties and civil society.

Roles of Walis and Governors and the grouping of active cases

Laftit outlined the government’s vision for the next phase, referring to “precisely determined” measures implemented since June 11. “These decisions bring together the protection of citizens, economic necessities and preparation for a return to normal life while allowing our country to continue to control the spread of this pandemic,” he said. And to recall that the transition from one stage to the next under the Containment Lightening Plan will be “subject to VEC assessment”.

“It was necessary, for the success of this operation, that the government delegate to the walis and governors, according to the decree extending the state of health emergency, the prerogatives of managing this stage,” he said, as an indirect response to the controversy over the powers granted to the walis and governors for the relief of containment. Abdelouafi Laftit also reported on the consolidation of active cases in two hospitals in Benslimane and Ben Guérir.

“This decision is based on the need to reopen hospitals to the public in order to treat other illnesses, protect active cases and their family and professional environments, and reduce the length of care,” said Abdelouafi Laftit.

In response to questions by the parliamentarians, Abdelouafi announced that “as of today, the remains can be transferred from one town to another, except for those who died because of the coronavirus”.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

June 15, 2020: Ban lifted on inter-city mortuary transport

Before the deputies of the First Chamber, Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit indicated that inter-city mortuary transport was once again authorised, and that this decision comes into force on 15 June.

Thus, if a person has died in a city other than the one in which he or she lives, it will be possible to transport him or her to be buried in his or her city, however, this does not apply to people who have died as a result of the coronavirus.

It should be remembered that last April the Interior Ministry had decreed a formal ban on any transfer of mortal remains from one town to another within the Kingdom, specifying that any death “must be followed by burial in the town where it was reported”. This measure had been put in place in order to contain the risks of propagation of COVID-19, and by extension, to consolidate the system for fighting the pandemic.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

15 June, 2020: King Mohammed VI has given instructions to send medical aid to 15 African countries

In order to provide the necessary assistance to several brotherly African countries and to follow the initiative launched by King Mohammed VI on 13 April this year, Morocco has begun the process of providing medical assistance to various countries on the continent to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and African Cooperation and Moroccans Residing Abroad, the aid will provide preventive medical equipment to enable some African countries to limit the spread of the pandemic.

The Kingdom’s aid consists of about eight million bibs, 900,000 visors, 600,000 medical caps, 60,000 medical gowns, 30,000 litres of antiseptic gels, as well as 75,000 boxes of chloroquine and 15,000 boxes of azithromycin.

This aid will benefit 15 African countries, namely Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

15 June, 2020: HM King Mohammed VI underwent a successful operation on Sunday 14 June at the Royal Palace Clinic in Rabat

“His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God Assist Him, successfully underwent an operation this Sunday, June 14, at the Royal Palace Clinic in Rabat.

His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God glorify and protect Him, has had a recurrence of atrial flutter-type heart rhythm disorder on a healthy heart.

The operation was a complete success, following the example of the previous operation performed on 26 February 2018 in Paris, with restoration of normal heart rhythm.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.