June 22 – 28, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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June 26, 2020: CTM buses are back on the road with phase 2 of deconfinement.

After several months of activity interruption, the Transport Company in Morocco (CTM) resumed, on Thursday, its activity with the reopening of its various agencies to passengers, with the entry into force of the second phase of the lightening of sanitary confinement.
A resumption initiated in strict compliance with the prevention and safety measures recommended by health authorities, including the mandatory wearing of masks, temperature verification, marking of distance on the ground, distance between seats, frequent and regular cleaning and disinfection, baggage retrieval, boarding and disembarkation in small groups, the establishment of hand disinfection points and compliance with the safety distance of at least 1 meter.

The protocol followed at the Casablanca main branch gives an exhaustive idea of the efforts made by the company to ensure a recovery combining quality of service and preservation of the health safety of passengers and staff.

At the entrance to the agency, the traveller, wearing his protective mask, is invited to pass over a decontamination mat , disinfect his hands with hydroalcoholic gel and measure his temperature. He is then asked to follow the arrows stuck on the ground, which show him the different routes to get to the ticket offices, check his luggage and board the bus.

In addition, the passengers are invited to buy their tickets online on the dedicated electronic platform or via the CTM’s mobile application, in order to avoid congestion and queues in front of the ticket offices.
The public authorities had announced last week the decision to move to the second phase of the lightening plan as from midnight on 24 June, taking into account the development of the epidemiological situation in the Kingdom.

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

June 26, 2020: Visa Schengen-TLS contact Morocco resumes service

The TlS visa centres, an acronym for “Transport Layer Security”, are back in operation after a halt of three months, following the suspension of foreign travel caused by covid-19.

Thus, the Schengen visa centre in Casablanca will welcome applicants again, starting this Friday, June 26th. The centres in other Moroccan cities will do so from next Monday. The TLS centre in the economic capital has also reminded its visitors of how to obtain the visa, as well as provided them with other information concerning the facilitation of making appointments.

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

June 26, 2020: Press and Media- a rescue plan of more than 200 MDH

The state will pay journalists’ salaries for three months, take care of the newspaper companies’ accounts payable and give a helping hand to printing works and newspaper distributors.

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Othmane El Ferdaous, has just announced a rescue plan for the written press and other media with a total budget of 205 million DH. The objective is to help the written press, mostly, to face a difficult situation, particularly because of COVID-19. Concretely, and after a meeting with professionals of the sector, it was decided, with the validation of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, that the State will take charge of the payroll of press enterprises for the next three months. In this sense, a total envelope of 75 million DH will be released. The State will also take charge of the accounts payable of these companies for a similar envelope (75 MDH).

Similarly, an envelope of 15 million DH is intended for printing houses that print more than 500,000 copies of newspapers. The rescue plan for the sector also includes aid for press distribution. This aid comes in two forms. In the first plan an amount of 15 million DH will be granted directly to the distributor, Sapress in this case. In a second stage, the State will recapitalize the company to the sum of MAD 10 million. This rescue plan also includes a component dedicated to private radio stations, which will receive aid of 15 million DH.

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

June 25, 2020: Passenger Carriers Call for Aid to Resume their activities

The Democratic Transport and Logistics Organisation, affiliated to the ODT, expressed on Wednesday its dissatisfaction with the “unilateral” way in which the government has decided to resume road transport activities for passengers.

In a statement, the union explained that the government and the Economic Watch Committee (CVE) have “ignored the proposals of professionals” in this sector, aimed at “mitigating the impact of the coronavirus and the health crisis” on passenger transport. The union thus announces the decision of its members not to resume activity until “the objective conditions for this recovery are met”.

The press release recalls that professionals “are waiting for solutions to overcome the crisis”, since the announcement by the Ministries of the Interior, Health and Industry of the resumption of activity in the road transport sector for travellers after an interruption of more than three and a half months.

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

June 25, 2020: Arrival at Dakhla Airport of 118 Moroccans repatriated from Mauritania

A total of 118 people, including babies and children, arrived Thursday at Dakhla airport on board a Royal Air Maroc (RAM) plane from Mauritania, operated in the framework of the repatriation of Moroccans stranded abroad due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus.

This is the second group of Moroccans repatriated from Mauritania, coming from Nouadhibou, after the arrival on Sunday of the first group (151 people) from Nouakchott. This operation has benefited in particular people suffering from chronic diseases and tourists in precarious situations, in addition to children and infants. The operation took place in full compliance with precautionary measures and the health protocol in force to ensure a safe and reassuring reception for these passengers, under the supervision of the competent authorities.

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

June 24, 2020: 563 new confirmed cases, 61 recoveries in 24 hours

Five hundred and sixty-three new cases of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) and sixty-one cures have been recorded in Morocco in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health announced Wednesday.

This new assessment brings to 10,907 the number of contaminations in the Kingdom since the first case reported on March 2 and to 8,468 the number of people fully recovered, representing a cure rate of 77.6%, said Hind Ezzine, head of the department of epidemic diseases at the Directorate of Epidemiology under the Ministry of Health, in a statement relayed by MAP.

The number of deaths has reached 216 with two new deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, she added, saying the case-fatality rate has reached 2%.

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

June 24, 2020: 90 new cases detected at Renault Tangier plant

Some 349 new cases tested positive for COVID-19 were announced by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday, June 24 at 10:00 a.m. 125 cases were registered in Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, 90 of which were discovered at Renault’s Tangier plant.

The rumors are going well since the announcement of the numbers, this Wednesday morning, by the Ministry of Health. Contacted by 2m.ma, a source authorized to Renault Morocco confirms that “90 cases have been detected so far in the Tangier factory. They were discovered in a context of massive screening, launched at Renault since May”.

“The campaign is taking time, given the number of employees, it is still ongoing and should normally end this weekend,” says the same source.

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

June 23, 2020: Otman El Ferdaous cancels summer camps in the Kingdom of Morocco

Following the current health situation due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)” summer “camps” in Morocco have been deemed too complicated to implement by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

Indeed, the newcomer in the government of Saad Eddine El Othmani concerned about the health of our children, before the committee on “social sectors” of the House of Representatives “did not want it to start again like every year” by canceling them with the promise, however, to reopen the camps in September. It goes without saying that it is, however, with the sine qua non condition that by then the health situation will have returned to normal.

But let it be said that the camps will not open their doors to children. They would be reserved in which case, the best case, for associative activities including seminars or training gatherings, said Othman El Ferdaous in response to some questions from MPs. The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports has also indicated that this period of closure of holiday camps under the supervision of his department, will be used to develop and upgrade their infrastructure. Budgets in consequence having been transferred to the various regional directorates for this purpose.

In addition, the newcomer indicated that a study is underway on the consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on youth in Morocco. It also provides for the establishment of recreational programmes to mitigate the impact of quarantine. During the ministerial intervention, the need to mobilize civil and educational society in order to propose new alternatives to socio-educational revitalization during the summer periods was stressed.

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

June 23, 2020: Foyer at Lalla Mimouna – the King’s Prosecutor orders a judicial inquiry

The King’s Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal of Kenitra ordered the opening of a judicial investigation into the causes and circumstances of the spread of COVID-19 within three red fruit packing units in the region of Lalla Mimouna, province of Kenitra, resulting in a large number of contaminations, thus giving rise to an epidemiological outbreak.

The opening of this investigation, which was entrusted to the National Brigade of the Royal Gendarmerie, was ordered after consulting the administrative investigation carried out on this case by the joint commission of the Ministries of the Interior, Health, Agriculture and Labour, says a press release from the prosecutor.

The aim of the judicial investigation is to determine the criminal offences that caused the contamination of several agricultural employees with COVID-19, including negligence, failure to take the necessary measures to protect them or failure to comply with laws and regulations, in particular the legal and organic provisions relating to preventive measures and barrier actions decided by the public authorities during the state of health emergency.

The investigation also aims to determine responsibilities in order to help define the appropriate legal impact.

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

June 22, 2020: Ministries of Interior and Industry and Trade call for strict compliance with recommended preventive measures

The Ministries of the Interior and of Industry, Trade and the Green and Digital Economy call on traders, craftsmen and offshore professionals to strictly and responsibly comply with the preventive and precautionary measures recommended by government authorities.

Following the joint communiqué that stipulated measures relating to the implementation of the second phase of the plan to reduce sanitary confinement, and in the context of accompanying the resumption of all economic activities in the Kingdom, the Ministries of the Interior and Industry, Trade and the Green and Digital Economy call on traders, craftsmen and offshore professionals issued a statement in which they call for strict and responsible compliance with the preventive and precautionary measures recommended by government authorities to ensure healthy working conditions, guaranteeing the health and safety of employees and customers and limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Central and local commissions will carry out intensive control operations, the same source added, saying that the competent authorities will, on the basis of the commissions’ observations, close any establishment or business that does not comply with health and safety regulations.

With regard to control operations in companies, production units and shopping centres, the communiqué states that they will focus on the seven main areas provided for in the protocol for managing the risk of COVID-19 contamination in workplaces, relating to the establishment of a COVID-19 prevention plan, work organization, training and awareness, specific sanitary measures, catering, employee transport and the care of symptomatic persons.

They must also appoint managers from among their employees as the main contacts of the control committees and would be responsible for strict and regular monitoring of compliance with these measures.

The above-mentioned protocol, as well as details of the various preventive health measures, can be consulted on the official website of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and the Green and Digital Economy (www.mcinet.gov.ma).

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

June 22, 2020: Riyadh closes Hajj door to Muslims not residing in Saudi Arabia

It’s now official, the coronavirus got the better of the Muslim pilgrimage this year. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in Saudi Arabia announced on Monday June 22 that “a very limited number of resident Muslims” in the Wahhabi Kingdom will be allowed to perform the 5th pillar of Islam. The authorities explain that this decision is taken to “ensure the health safety of pilgrims as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread”.

The cancellation of the Hajj 2020 thus deprives the government of Riyadh of a significant inflow of foreign currency. Religious tourism has already suffered significant financial losses because of COVID-19. The Ramadan Umrah, a crucial sequence for the local economy, has been cancelled. On June 6, the British publication Financial Times estimated Riyadh’s revenues for the Hajj and Umrah at $12 billion.

In Morocco, this decision puts an end to weeks of waiting for candidates for the 2020 pilgrimage. On Thursday 28 May, at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, the Minister of Islamic Affairs indicated that his services “have no official notification or communication from the Saudi Ministry of the Hajj concerning what is going to happen in the coming days”.

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

June 22, 2020: Al Boraq and Al Atlas trains will gradually resume on June 25

The Al Boraq and Al Atlas trains which provide inter-city services will gradually resume their operation from Thursday 25 June, in strict compliance with health protection and safety measures, announces the National Railways Office (ONCF).

Following the decision of the public authorities on the passage to the second stage of the “plan to alleviate health containment”, this resumption will take place on the Tangier-Casablanca, Fez-Casablanca-Marrakech, Casablanca-Nador and Oujda, Casablanca-Safi and Khouribga, as well as Tangier-Fez and Oujda routes, the ONCF said in a press release. In addition, local trains (Trains Navettes Rapides : TNR) will be reinforced on the Casablanca-Settat, Casablanca-El Jadida and Casablanca Rabat-Kenitra routes, according to the same source, adding that this programme, which includes a daily offer of 116 trains combined with the reopening of stations, will be gradually adapted according to the evolution of demand.

Regarding health protection and safety measures, ONCF insists on the compulsory wearing of masks, respect for social distancing in stations and on board trains, reinforced and continuous cleaning and disinfection of trains and shared spaces in stations and the provision of hydroalcoholic gel in stations and on board trains, in addition to the application of the exceptional measure of reducing sales capacity and occupancy to 50 per cent during this phase, with compulsory reservation in all trains.
Passengers are also required to comply with the provisions laid down by the authorities regarding the presentation of their National Identity Card (CIN) when acquiring travel tickets.

Concerning journeys departing from stations in zone 2, they are subject, as decreed by the authorities, to the obligation to have a professional authorisation or an exceptional authorisation issued by the local authorities for reasons of force majeure, the press release points out.

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

June 22, 2020: “Operation Marhaba will not take place this year”, Nasser Bourita

The long-discussed operation Marhaba, which allows millions of Moroccans living abroad to travel to Morocco, will finally not take place, announced Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

Organized every year from June 15, the Marhaba operation will not take place this year, said Monday, June 22, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African cooperation and Moroccans residing abroad, Nasser Bourita.

Before parliamentarians, the minister finally put an end to the doubts that remained. “Operation Marhaba is an operation, which requires preparation from April, in order to coordinate with several countries (…) Today the operation as we know it will not take place, because we did not start preparations during the month of April, since European borders were closed during this period”, he explained.

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