June 29- July 04, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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Photo: John S. sur Flickr

July 04, 2020: COVID-19-Safi put in Quarantine ?

After the steep rise in the number of COVID 19 cases recorded since last Thursday in Safi, the authorities have decided to put the city into a quarantine. As a reminder, some 449 contaminations have been recorded since Thursday in a professional environment, linked to a fish canning unit. Faced with fears of successive contaminations, it was decided to prohibit all access to and all exit from Safi. In short, the city is isolated and is placed under new sanitary restrictions.

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

July 04, 2020: 534 new cases confirmed in Morocco

Five hundred thirty-four (534) new cases of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) and one hundred sixty-nine (169) cures have been recorded in Morocco in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health announced Saturday.

This new assessment brings to 13,822 the number of contaminations in the Kingdom since the declaration of the first case on March 2, and to 9,329 the number of people fully recovered, a recovery rate of about 67.5%, said the head of the department of epidemic diseases at the Directorate of Epidemiology under the Ministry of Health, Ms. Hind Ezzine.

The number of deaths reached 232, after two new deaths were reported, representing a case-fatality rate of 1.7 percent, she added.

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

July 03, 2020: Spain closes its borders to Morocco, Algeria and China

Like Germany, Spain decided this Friday that it will not reopen its borders to travellers from Algeria, Morocco and China until the authorities of these nations allow visitors from Spain to enter their territory. Yet Spain is a signatory to the decree allowing the opening of borders to the 15 countries on the list published by the European Union on 30 June.

The decree will come into force today at midnight “in the night from Friday to Saturday”, allowing the effective entry of the residents of these states. However, the press release of the Spanish Ministry of the Interior specifies that each state remained sovereign as for the measures relating to its borders. Also in the case of the Kingdom, China, and Algeria, the reopening of borders remains conditioned by reciprocity.

If we leave it at that, with closed borders on both sides, the millions of Moroccans and Algerians residing in Europe who every summer cross Spain to spend their holidays in their home countries will not be allowed to do so this year. This is a big concern both for Morocco and for Algeria if this turns out to be the case.

In the meantime, the land border crossings of the occupied presidencies of Sebta and Melilla in Morocco are expected to remain closed, according to the communiqué issued to this effect. With regard to China, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior explains that it has taken into account the recommendations of the European Union to open the borders of the member states only after “confirmation of the existence of a reciprocal regime on the part of the Asian country”.

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

July 03, 2020: Coronavirus/Morocco – 10 regions affected by new cases, Tangier most affected

According to the Ministry of Health, new cases have been identified in 10 regions of Morocco. Firstly, Tangier-Tetouan Al Hoceima, which recorded the highest number of cases in the last 24 hours, 84, bringing its total to 2513. Tangiers-Tetouan Al Hoceima is followed by Marrakech-Safi, which has 74 new infections, for a total of 2050 people affected by the pandemic.

With 45 new cases, Fez-Meknes is in 3rd position among the cities most affected by new cases in the last 24 hours, with a total of 1351 cases since the virus appeared.

Casablanca-Settat, the most affected region in Morocco, has 31 new cases for a total of 3527, while Rabat-Salé-Kénitra (1979) has 13 new cases. Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra (604) has recorded 5 new cases in the last 24 hours.

The regions of Drâa-Tafilalet (585), Souss-Massa (93), Guelmim Oued-Noun (81) and Dakhla-Oued Ed Dahab (15) register one new case each.

The situation remained the same in Oriental (211) and Beni Mellal-Khenifra (152).

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

July 03, 2020: A fourth field hospital in El Jadida

A field hospital is about to be built in El Jadida. It will be used to care for new patients with COVID-19 from the Jorf Lasfar outbreak.

The El Jadida Exhibition Fair is being transformed into a field hospital according to Le360, which explains that a “team from the local development company Casa Event and Animation has been called to ensure the execution and equipment of the construction site”.

The project comes at the right time, especially since the epidemic outbreak in Jorf LAsfar last week registered that thirty people tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The field hospital of El Jadida will thus join those already existing in Benslimane, Benguérir and Casablanca, which take care of people affected by COVID-19, the same source said.

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

July 02, 2020: Tourism-Morocco, 7th country most affected by the crisis of COVID-19 (UNCTAD)

According to a report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Morocco is ranked 7th most affected by the crisis of COVID-19 as far as its tourism industry is concerned.

Out of a list of 15 countries, the Moroccan tourism industry is the 7th most affected by the COVID-19 crisis. In its report entitled “COVID-19 and Tourism: Access on the Economic Consequences”, UNCTAD forecasts a 5% negative variation of the Moroccan GDP related to tourism in the case of a moderate scenario.

Globally, the United Nations Trade and Development Organization warned that the loss could reach US$2.2 trillion or 2.8% of GDP if the suspension of international tourism lasts eight months, in line with the expected decline in tourism predicted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the UNCTAD note said.

In the most pessimistic scenario, losses would amount to US$ 3.3 trillion or 4.2% of world GDP with a 12-month interruption of international tourism.

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

July 01, 2020: Entry into the Schengen area-Germany removes Morocco from the EU list

Germany does not apply the reopening of its borders to all countries on the European Union (EU) list. Berlin has decided to remove Morocco, Algeria, Rwanda and Serbia from the list of countries allowed to enter the Schegen area. Only travellers from 11 countries are allowed to travel to Germany: Australia, Georgia, Canada, Montenegro, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Japan, South Korea and China. The last three Asian countries can enter Germany provided they open their borders to German nationals, the Interior Ministry said. The list of states is updated every two weeks.

Regarding Morocco’s withdrawal, Berlin does not provide any explanation.

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

July 01, 2020: Baccalaureate in Morocco – strong commitment for the smooth running of the exams

The baccalaureate examination represents an important and fundamental step during which everyone is mobilized to carry out this national appointment, said Tuesday in Rabat, the Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, government spokesman, Saaid Amzazi.

Amzazi told a meeting of the committee on education, culture and communication in the House of Representatives that all measures have been taken to ensure that candidates have conditions that guarantee safety and health prevention, stressing that the Kingdom has insisted on this national appointment despite the current circumstances marked by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On this occasion, the Minister reviewed some data relating to this examination, specifying that there are 441,238 candidates for the baccalaureate examinations, 64% of whom come from public education and 8% from private education. 72% of the candidates are enrolled in school, compared to 28% of the free candidates (122,000 candidates), while girls represent 49%.

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

July 01, 2020: Rabat – Salé- Changes in the frequency of tram traffic

The frequency of passage of the Rabat-Salé tramway trains will be changed from this Wednesday, as part of the resumption of activities in the cities of Rabat and Salé. Similarly, in accordance with the directives of the local authorities, the range of hours will be extended, for service from 6 am to 10 pm from Monday to Sunday, said the Rabat-Salé Tramway Company (STRS) in a statement.

For this purpose, the frequency of the passages will be one passage every 15 minutes from Monday to Saturday from 06H to 07H, one passage every 10 minutes from Monday to Saturday from 07H to 20H, one passage every 20 minutes from Monday to Saturday from 20H to 22H, specifies the same source, adding that concerning Sunday, the Tramway will pass every 20 minutes. In addition, the maximum number of passengers on a double train is maintained at 240.

The STRS also continues to supply its hydro-alcoholic gel dispensers, installed near the entrance doors and subjects all the trains and stations to regular disinfection and cleaning operations, it is noted.

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

June 30, 2020: The Ministry of Transport calls on road transport professionals to respect the preventive measures against COVID-19

The Ministry of Public Works, Transport, Logistics and Water calls upon all the representations of road transport professionals to respect the measures adopted within the framework of the specifications for the management of the dangers of the spread of the new Coronavirus in the sector, and to commit themselves to a “responsible” and “citizen” approach.

“These measures are essentially aimed at protecting the health of citizens and employees from the dangers of the spread of this epidemic,” the ministry said in a statement released Tuesday, saying it is continuing its approach aimed at continuous consultation with professionals without exception, even if some of them do not have complete legal records in accordance with the laws in force.

The ministry has drawn up a draft recovery plan for the road passenger transport sector, including a series of measures to support transport companies. The project is part of the gradual resumption of the Kingdom’s economic and social activities, as well as road passenger transport activities (public passenger transport, mixed transport, tourist transport and personnel transport), ensuring the safety of travellers, professionals and employees and being aware of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the profitability of transport companies.

Thus, the Ministry, in consultation with the ministerial departments concerned, has drawn up two specifications for the management of the dangers of the spread of the new coronavirus in the public passenger transport sector. The first set of specifications concerns road passenger transport companies, their employees and users, while the second concerns road passenger transport infrastructure, their employees and users.

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

June 30, 2020: Africa Cup of Nations postponed to January 2022

The Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has decided to postpone the African Cup of Nations (CAN) to January 2022. This decision was taken after a videoconference meeting to discuss the fate of African competitions and local championships in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.
A source from CAF indicated that the members of the Committee decided to postpone the CAN by one year, noting that this decision was motivated by Cameroon’s refusal to postpone the African competition in the summer due to the difficult climatic conditions. The same source stated that the Committee is moving towards the adoption of the decision of the continuation of the African Champions League in September in Cameroon.
According to a reliable source within CAF, Cameroon could host the two semi-finals and the final of the Champions League.
The Executive Committee is also considering organizing the semi-finals and the final of the CAF Cup according to the same scenario, and this in September in Morocco.
The Champions League semi-finals will pit Casablanca’s Raja against Egypt’s Zamalek, while Casablanca’s Wydad will take on Egypt’s other club Al Ahly.

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

June 30, 2020: DGI – Extension of tax payment deadlines, in particular for corporate income tax and business income tax

The General Tax Department (DGI) implemented the measure adopted by the Economic Intelligence Committee (CVE) on March 19 allowing companies with a turnover of less than MAD 20 million, which so wish, to benefit from the postponement of tax returns and tax payment from March 31 until the end of June.
The deadline of June 30 is maintained without any change concerning the filing of tax returns for the fiscal year 2019, the DGI indicated in a press release.

As for the deadlines for the payment of taxes that part of this population cannot pay because of cash flow difficulties, it is admitted, in view of the circumstances resulting from the above-mentioned pandemic, to postpone the application of increases, fines and penalties, no later than 30 September 2020, stresses the same source.

In the same context, the Economic Intelligence Committee, meeting on April 14, adopted a benevolent measure, by way of derogation for the benefit of natural persons by allowing the postponement of the deadline for the annual declaration of global income referred to in Article 82 of the CGI and the payment of the related fees due, from April 30 to June 30, it is specified.

Following the example of the above-mentioned legal entities, taxpayers subject to income tax in respect of their professional income, relating to the year 2019, determined according to the real net income or simplified net income system, and/or in respect of their agricultural income, may benefit from the same measure mentioned above concerning only the payment of tax, provided that the payment of the duties due takes place no later than September 30, 2020.

And to note that the taxpayers concerned, automatically benefit from this benevolent measure without any formality.
This action is part of the accompanying approach and takes into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on economic activity, the press release states.

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

June 30, 2020: EU reopens its borders to 15 countries, including Morocco

The European Union (EU) decided on Tuesday to lift travel restrictions for residents of some 15 third countries including Morocco as of July 1, European sources in Brussels said.
The list of countries chosen by the EU, which will be evaluated every two weeks, was drawn up on the basis of criteria related in particular to the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, to the management of health precautionary measures and for economic considerations, it is said from the same source.
Among the countries selected are Tunisia, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, New Zealand, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand and China, subject to reciprocity. The United States is not one of them.

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

June 30, 2020: Morocco first country to benefit from Spanish aid to curb the arrival of migrants
In 2019,

Spain was “generous” with Morocco. The Iberian neighbour has granted the kingdom 32.3 million euros in exchange for its commitment to effectively combat illegal immigration networks, reports El Pais, who quotes figures from the Ministry of the Interior. This aid was also announced by the Sanchez government at the end of its meeting on 23 August.
Its amount far exceeds the 2.5 million euros granted to Rabat to carry out the same function a year earlier, the same source said. The publication acknowledges that in 2018, Morocco was not a major beneficiary of the Spanish executive’s grants, which were placed within the framework of the fight against immigration, but notes that “priorities have changed since then”.

Rabat commitment has helped reduce the number of undocumented arrivals by sea in Spain. “In February 2019, they started to fall and in less than a year, the objective has been achieved,” El Pais noted. Official statistics from the Ministry of the Interior show a significant drop of more than 50% in 2019 in the number of migrant boats that run aground on the Spanish coast compared to 2018.

This contribution was welcomed, moreover, by Fernando Grande Marlaska during his visit to Rabat in February 2020. However, the minister was concerned about the “Canary route”.
In its quest to curb the mass arrivals of migrants, particularly in the Canary Islands, Spain has programmed aid to certain West African countries. Alongside Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal are the other major beneficiaries in 2019, with €10.2 million and €3 million respectively.

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

June 29, 2020: Authorities tighten health measures at cold chain units

As part of the health prevention measures accompanying the second stage of the gradual lifting of containment, the Ministries of the Interior, Agriculture and Industry have just taken a set of measures aimed at reinforcing precautionary measures at the level of units using the cold chain.
In a joint communiqué, they inform all food industry professionals, fresh produce storage units and municipalities with refrigeration units that, in the context of coordinating the work of these departments, and in view of the many uses of refrigeration, particularly at this time of the year in the various food production and storage chains and the market supply chain, the following measures and procedures have been adopted :
– Publication of a benchmark of preventive measures to be adopted at the level of all units using the cold chain, in addition to the general preventive measures previously published.
– Integrate the content of the said referential and adopt it at the level of the specific protocol for the management of infections in the workplace, previously adopted as a daily surveillance mechanism for production, conservation and storage units.
– The units concerned must subject their workers and staff to COVID-19 testing on a large scale and continuous monitoring, with regular sampling tests.
– Continued commitment to the strict application of all other previously published prevention measures.

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

June 29, 2020: Worrying Increase in Cases

Even if the Department of Health reassured the population that the COVID-19 situation is stable, the increase in the number of registered COVID-19 cases is probably not due solely to the increase in the number of tests performed.
“Controlled and stable” is how the Department of Health described the national epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in a press release issued on the evening of June 27. These words are meant to be reassuring, but are they reassuring? The reason why Khalid Aït Taleb, who usually shines with his silence, left the department is, of course, the alarming numbers of new contaminations. On June 28 alone, 109 new cases were counted, respectively distributed between the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region -46-, and the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region -20-, that of Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra -13-, that of Casablanca-Settat -11- that of Marrakech-Safi -9-, that of Fez-Meknes -6-, that of Guelmim-Oued Noun -5- and that of Béni Mellal-Khénifra -1.
This brings the total to 11,986 recorded since 2 March and the registration of the first case in Casablanca, namely a Moroccan residing in Italy. Of these 11,986 cases, 3,036 are still active. According to the Ministry, “the recent increase in the number of positive cases is due to the expansion of early and active collective screening”. This is plausible: it is worth recalling the strategy launched on 20 May by Mr Aït Taleb, which aims to carry out 1.79 million tests over three months. On the other hand, however, we cannot ignore the so-called industrial clusters, i.e. those outbreaks declared in different production units in the Kingdom, the most significant of which are those of Frigodar and Nat Berry, spread between the communes of Larache, Ouazzane and Kenitra. For it is an open secret that many employers are reluctant to provide their employees with the appropriate conditions to protect them as well as possible from COVID-19.

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