12 – 19 July, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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July 19, 2020: Elothmani and Aït Taleb (Head of Government and Minister of Health) “For Eid, travel only in case of extreme necessity”.

In an joint press conference, Saâdeddine Elothmani had the difficult task of reassuring while calling for vigilance. The press conference was scheduled mainly in anticipation (or fear) of a spread of the coronavirus during Aid Al Adha’s travels. These travelling between cities increase close contacts especially, in crowded stations as well as in festive events or family reunions.

On several occasions, each of the two speakers called for Aid Al Adha’s movements to be limited to what is strictly necessary. But this quick meeting with the press was also the occasion for a brief update on COVID-19 in Morocco.

Here is the main information communicated by the Head of Government and the Minister of Public Health:

Epidemiological situation:

Khalid Ait Taleb: The situation is unstable in the world but it is under control in Morocco. As shown by all the indicators: lethality rate among the lowest in the world (1.6% of deaths), low number of serious or severe cases,and the number of positive cases compared to tests (1.7% currently).

Until the end of June, the situation had stabilised. Then there is an increase in the number of cases, deaths and serious or severe cases, where there has been a large-scale resumption of economic activity.

Khalid Ait Taleb: So far 1,196,750 tests have been done. 26 public laboratories are operational, not counting laboratories with other statuses. More than 20,000 tests per day are carried out, which is sufficient. When the rate of positive cases is reduced to 0.5% instead of the current 1.7%, fewer tests will be carried out and we will return to diagnostic tests for symptomatic cases, as we did at the beginning of the epidemic.


Khalid Ait TAleb: The asymptomatic cases are not sick but are carriers of the virus so they are contagious. Therefore, they are isolated in dedicated sites.
Tangier: the city has had its peak of cases like other large cities, but in a delayed manner, due to the massive resumption of economic activities. We don’t know whether the virus has mutated or not, whether the virus in Tangier is of a different strain or not. We have done a genomic study of the virus collected in Tangier. The result will be available tomorrow (Monday 20 July).

Morocco now has more than 1,250 ICU beds dedicated to COVID-19 in private care facilities. This does not include private clinics. In hospitals, we keep the COVID-19 circuits because we do not know how things will evolve.

Reopening of borders:

Saaddin Elotmani: no decision has been taken yet. Some countries that have opened their borders are now considering closing them with certain countries. The reopening depends on the international situation.

Back to school:

Saaddedine Elotmani: The decision will be taken at the right time, to better understand the epidemiological evolution. Three scenarios have been prepared and we will opt for one of them depending on the evolution.

Special sea and air travel:

Saâdeddine Elotmani: in four days (Wednesday to Saturday), 17,850 people returned to Morocco, via 105 RAM flights, 76 Air Arabia flights and 3 ferries.

Elotmani gave an explanation on the case of the ferry arriving from Genoa at the end of the day on Saturday: some passengers carried out CRP tests in Italy instead of PCR tests, due to language confusion. They were admitted on board where tests were carried out. Indeed, on each ship there is a Moroccan mobile laboratory. The tests diagnosed three positive cases among the passengers.

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

July 19, 2020: Morocco moves into phase 3 of deconfinement, new measures

In an official press release, the government announces new measures and the passage to phase 3 of the deconfinement plan, starting this Monday, July 20, 2020 at midnight.

Here are the measures that come into effect this Monday, July 20:

  • Tourist establishments will be allowed to use 100% of their accommodation capacity. On the other hand, common areas such as swimming pools, restaurants, fitness rooms… will not be allowed to exceed 50% of their capacity.
  • Public passenger transport, urban and interurban, will be allowed to reach 75% of its capacity under specific conditions to be announced.
  • Official sports competitions will be allowed, but behind closed doors.
  • Events and gatherings with a maximum of 20 people will be allowed.
  • Reopening of cultural centres, museums, libraries, monuments, without exceeding 50% of their capacity.

All other restrictions remain in force, such as the prohibition of weddings, funeral ceremonies, cinemas, public swimming pools, etc.

The government calls on citizens to be extremely vigilant and to strictly respect the wearing of masks, distancing and hygiene measures, knowing that summer activities and those of Aid Al Adha are favourable to the spread of the virus.

The government also announced that in case of the emergence of clusters, any industrial, commercial, service or tourist unit will be closed. And that any neighbourhood or area will be placed under strict quarantine if necessary and their accesses tightly closed in both directions.

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

July 18, 2020: Physicians’ call for action in the face of rising COVID-19

In reaction to the increase in new contaminations, Dr. Mohamed Mounir Mikou recalled the concern of the medical profession. According to the member of the Moroccan Society of Anaesthesia, Analgesia and ICU, only 50 ICU beds are currently occupied by patients in difficult situations, “but the outbreak of contamination related to professional homes intrigues us,” he said.

According to the doctor, difficult cases occupy 7% of the bedding capacity of the ICU unit. According to him, the rapid evolution of new cases leads the medical profession to be increasingly vigilant. He added. ” Our hospitals could not withstand cascading contamination”. In Tangier, for example, we have 18 patients in intensive care, while the city has only 12 beds for intensive care,” he warned.

To prevent any outbreak of cases, he called on the Ministries of the Interior, Health, Tourism, Industry, and Higher Education to call and impose the respect for distance and protectives measures, “because we are increasingly exposed to a virus that has certainly lost its virulence, but remains unpredictable and extremely contagious. It should be noted that Morocco has recorded two deaths in recent days, aged 28 and 35, who previously suffered from no chronic disease. Faced with this situation, we must redouble our efforts, ensure the implementation of the strictest health measures.  »

Acknowledging the government’s efforts to increase the number of PCR tests, Dr Mounir Mikou also praised the government’s ambition to spread the sites of the laboratories that can perform these tests over the 12 regions of the Kingdom. He believes that this effort should accompany the period of deconfinement, in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus in the kingdom. He also proposed to further multiply the COVID-19 analysis laboratories, to reduce the number of tests to be carried out daily in each laboratory.

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

July 18, 2020: 7,100 Moroccan seasonal workers from Huelva repatriated this Saturday

Some 7,100 Moroccan seasonal workers from the province of Huelva, will be able to return to the Kingdom under a repatriation plan launched on Saturday and which will mobilize no less than 6 boats made available by the Moroccan state.

According to the Moroccan embassy in Madrid, thanks to the close collaboration between the Moroccan diplomatic mission and the Spanish authorities, in particular the Secretary of State for Migration and the regional government of Andalusia, all the necessary logistical and human resources have been put in place for the success of this operation while respecting the health measures in force.

PCR and serological tests, made available by the Spanish authorities, have been carried out for the benefit of all Moroccan seasonal workers, in order to protect their health while respecting the conditions necessary for their departure to Morocco, the embassy said in a statement.

It adds that to this end, the Moroccan ambassador in Madrid, Karima Benyaich, went to Huelva to find out about the smooth running of the first stage of this operation, which is being coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans living abroad.

While paying tribute to the commitment and sacrifice of these women, a symbol of the courage of Moroccan women, particularly in the current context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the diplomat held meetings with the government sub-delegate, Manuela Parralo Marcos, and the director of the Huelva port authority, Pilar Miranda, which provided an opportunity to review the cooperation on circular migration that has existed between the two countries for the past two decades.

As a reminder, more than 80 of Morocco’s most vulnerable seasonal workers, particularly those with health problems, pregnant or breastfeeding, had already benefited from a special repatriation flight on June 27.

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

July 17, 2020: Aid Al Adha in Morocco-Government takes further action

The Ministry of Interior has taken a series of measures for the organization of the sacrifice operation on the occasion of the feast of Aid Al Adha 1441, and this in the framework of the concern of the public authorities to implement preventive measures to fight against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The ministry said that in order to ensure adequate conditions for the conduct of this occasion in full compliance with the health provisions adopted by the competent authorities, permits will be issued by local authorities to professional butchers and seasonal people performing the ritual of sacrifice, said Friday a statement from the department, stating that these people will be tested beforehand with COVID-19, in coordination with the competent health authorities.

They will also be equipped with the tools and products to ensure compliance with the preventive measures in force, such as protective masks, antiseptics and disinfectants.

In this regard, the press release adds, the Ministry of the Interior calls on all citizens to ensure that during the sacrifice, they deal only with those who have the necessary permits issued by the local authorities and do not use any other person, in order to preserve their health and safety and avoid the risk of infection.

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

July 17, 2020: New Japanese donations for Morocco

Japan is supporting Morocco’s efforts to halt COVID-19 and its effects. It is worth 500,000,000 Japanese yen or about $4,650,000.

The signature took place in Rabat on July 10, 2020 between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Morocco. The communiqué issued at the end of this act, stresses that “by contributing to the reinforcement of equipment in several provincial hospitals and in several regions of Morocco, Japan, through its economic and social cooperation, is actively engaged alongside Morocco in its efforts to overcome the health crisis caused by COVID-19 which is still spreading rapidly throughout the world”.

The Japanese government had previously mobilized US$ 573,804 through its cooperation with UNICEF in Morocco to “contribute to the financing of targeted interventions aimed at preventing the transmission of Covid-19 and mitigating the impact of the epidemic”.

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

July 17, 2020: Here are the companies closed for non-compliance with the measures

Since the gradual recovery of economic activity, and on the basis of the control operations carried out by the competent commissions, 514 decisions to close industrial and commercial units have been issued in 34 prefectures and provinces. The cause of these closures was the failure to comply with the sanitary measures in force.

To date, a total of 98 of these industrial units are still closed, while the others have remedied their situation by undertaking to comply with the provisions in force.

The closed units are broken down by category, namely “Local shops”, “Industrial units” (135), “Restaurants” (58), “Cafés” (55), “Commercial units”, “Beauty and leisure”, “Call centres” (15), “Local workshops and craftsmen” (11), “Tourist accommodation establishments” (5), “Money transfer agencies” (2).

Concerning the establishments that remained closed in Safi, in the fish canning sector, there are “Unimer Etamar”, “Unimer CN1”, “Unimer CN2”, “Unimer Glofi” (depot), “LGMC Comosa”, “LGMC Marjana”, “LGMC Cherifian”, “LGMC Deposit”, “ICC”, “Upa 2”, “Orgafood”, “Midav”, “Midav Depot”, “Sarex”, “Sogenco 1”, “Sogenco 2”, “Sogenco Depot” and “Mapi”.

Several other towns are affected by this closure of shops and industrial units. These are Kenitra, Al Haouz, Boujdour, Casablanca-Anfa, Sidi Bernoussi, Fahs-Anjra, Sidi Kacem, Fahs-Anjra, Guelmim, Mediouna, Rabat, Salé, Sidi Slimane, Tangier-Assilah, Laâyoune, the prefecture of Ain Sebâa Hay Mohammadi.

To these regions are added the province of Oued Ed-Dahab, the prefecture of Al Fida Mers Sultan, Essaouira, Larache, Marrakech, the province of Mediouna, the province of Moulay Yacoub, the prefecture of Salé, Kacem, Tangier-Assilah, the province of Tetouan, the prefecture of Skhirat-Témara,

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

July 16, 2020: appearance of serious cases in recent days in Morocco (Aït Taleb-Minister of Health)

Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb insisted, this Thursday in Rabat, on the obligation to wear masks and comply with barrier measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

The epidemiological situation has been marked in recent days by “the appearance of serious cases and an increasing number of deaths,” said the minister in a statement to the press, calling on citizens to respect preventive measures including protective masks.

The epidemic is accelerating globally, which is “following a logical course in response to climate change,” he said, calling for the need to respect barrier measures to protect the health of everyone, including the most vulnerable and those suffering from underlying diseases. “The situation remains unpredictable, but we are working hard to contain this viral infection with all the means at our disposal,” he said.

While urging citizens to avoid any laxity in adhering to preventive measures during this summer period, Ait Taleb said that “the situation is heterogeneous nationwide, as some areas have experienced fluctuation in a very short period of time”.

On Monday, the ministry had urged citizens to comply with the preventive measures to fight the coronavirus, given the increase in the number of deaths and critical cases recorded in recent days.

According to the department, the increasing number of deaths and critical cases of COVID-19 infection during the second phase of the gradual lifting of containment measures is due to the failure to comply with preventive measures in terms of compulsory wearing of masks, respect of physical distance, regular hand washing and use of the “wiqaytna” application.

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

July 15, 2020: Special Flights – New fixed prices for Royal air Maroc’s air flights

Royal air Maroc announced on Wednesday the implementation of fixed prices for special flights launched from today for Moroccans, MREs and foreigners residing in Morocco.

“These fixed prices concern flights scheduled within the framework of the special operation related to the state of health emergency in Morocco,” the company continued. Indeed, several travellers have complained about a surge in ticket prices for these trips, having reached worrying levels on the RAM commercial site.

“Aligned with the average level of prices charged since the beginning of the launch of this special operation, these prices have been well studied in order to meet customer demand,” explains the national company. And specify that they “are lower than the prices charged in general, during the summer, by the competition”.

Thus, fares for flights connecting Morocco to different Western European destinations range from MAD 2,200 to 5500 dhs including tax (one way in economy class).

As for flights to Africa, they are marketed in a range of MAD3,500 to MAD4,500 inclusive of tax.

Flights between Morocco and North America are offered at fixed fares of MAD6,500 including tax (one-way economy class on the Casablanca-Montreal route) and MAD8,000 including tax (one-way economy class on the Casablanca-New York route).

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

July 14, 2020: “It would be a pity to lose all the results of the sacrifices made so far” Khalid Ait Taleb (Minister of Health)

“There has been laxity in the face of health measures recently,” Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb deplored in a statement to the press. This is an opportunity to stress the need to carefully respect the preventive measures recommended by the authorities (wearing of masks, respect of distance) in order to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The epidemiological situation has changed in Morocco and throughout the world,” he said, expressing concern at the increase in cases of death and serious contamination with COVID-19.

“Lowest case-fatality rate in the world”

The Minister called on citizens to be more vigilant and to show responsibility and solidarity, especially as the new school and university years approach, saying that the epidemic is not over.

“The results achieved so far by the kingdom have been hailed by the international community, given that Morocco has the lowest case-fatality rate in the world,” said Khalid Ait Taleb, attributing these achievements to the efforts made by all stakeholders, especially citizens. It would be a pity to lose all the results of the sacrifices made so far,” he said, highlighting the “heterogeneity” of the epidemiological situation in the kingdom.

Indeed, following the relaxation of citizens in the respect and adoption of established barrier measures, the situation in some provinces of the kingdom “goes a little out of control” compared to others, he said. The minister insisted in particular on the situation of asymptomatic people, who can spread the virus “without realizing it”. This underlines the “primordial” importance of wearing a protective mask.

Mask, distancing and vigilance

The Minister of Health also invited people with symptoms such as high temperatures, signs of cough, loss of smell or breathing difficulties to go to the nearest health structure or to quickly contact the services Allô Yakada 080 100 47 47, Allô SAMU 141 or Allô 300.

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

July 14, 2020: 5,000 mosques will reopen their doors to the faithful tomorrow

“5,000 mosques will reopen their doors to worshippers tomorrow,” Ahmed Taoufiq said this afternoon during an oral question session in the House of Councillors. “The list of these places of worship will be available on the website of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs,” he said in response to a question from the Istiqlal group.

The minister enumerated the preventive measures that worshippers are required to observe before going to mosques, during and after the five prayers. These measures had already been the subject of a press release from his department on 7 July.

Ahmed Taoufiq defended his department’s management of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, stressing that the closure of the mosques, decided on 17 March, was intended to “protect the faithful”.

There are more than 50,000 mosques in the kingdom, which means that this reopening only affects about 10% of places of worship.

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

July 14, 2020: Throne Day festivities postponed in Morocco

Here is the press release from the Ministry of the Royal House, Protocol and Chancellery:

“The Ministry of the Royal Household, Protocol and Chancellery announces that taking into consideration the preventive measures taken in the context of the state of health emergency declared to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it has been decided to postpone all activities, festivities and ceremonies planned on the occasion of the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the accession of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, to the Throne of His Glorious Ancestors.

In this context, it was decided to postpone the reception ceremony presided over by HM the King on this glorious occasion, the swearing-in ceremony of the laureate officers of the various military, paramilitary and civil schools and institutes, the ceremony of allegiance to Amir Al-Mouminine, may God preserve him, the Torchlight Retreat organized by the Royal Guard, as well as all the parades and events attended by a large number of citizens.

On this glorious occasion, His Majesty the King, may God preserve him, will address a speech to his people, which will be broadcast on radio and television on July 29 at 9 p.m. His Majesty will also symbolically preside over a reception on July 30, 2020.

May God preserve His Majesty the King, grant Him long life and keep Him for the sake of His people. May He fill the Sovereign in the person of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan, His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid and all members of the illustrious Royal Family.

God hears him and grants the wishes of those who implore him.”

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

July 13, 2020: Suspension of trains to and from Tangier from this Monday, July 13

Following the latest preventive measures taken by the public authorities in the city of Tangier, the National Railways Office (ONCF) has announced the suspension of trains to and from Tangier from Monday 13 July 2020.

In a press release, the ONCF informs the general public that this suspension concerns “the Tangier/Casablanca axes via Al Boraq trains and Tangier/Fez via Al Atlas trains”. Tickets purchased on these axes for travel dates from Monday 13 July will be exchangeable after the resumption of train traffic, continues the ONCF, which invites its customers to learn about these new provisions on the website “www.oncf-voyages.ma” or by calling the Customer Relations Center at 2255.

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

July 13, 2020: the Ministry of the Interior will not hesitate to put cities under lockdown in case of outbreaks of infection

The Ministry of Interior announced on Monday that following the observation of the non commitment of some people to the prevention guidelines adopted in the framework of the state of health emergency, the public authorities will proceed to the closure of districts that would constitute new outbreaks of infection, in the sense that they will be sealed off, control measures strengthened and entrances and exits closed as it was the case on Sunday in Tangier, where several districts were closed.

In a press release, the ministry recalls that the public authorities have closed, in some areas, any production, service or tourism unit that had not ensured compliance with the rules of the health protocol in force.

The Ministry stresses that, on the basis of daily monitoring of the level of compliance with the preventive guidelines adopted in the context of the state of health emergency, and in view of the development of the epidemiological situation in our country during the summer period, a lack of application has been observed among some people through irresponsible behaviour undermining the preventive and health measures announced by the public authorities.

The press release warns that the authorities will not tolerate any lightness in the respect of the preventive measures adopted, under penalty of applying the repressive provisions against any person who violates the established rules.

Given that the threat is always present, the public authorities insist on the need for strict compliance with all the preventive measures adopted by the health authorities on the part of employers and heads of administrative institutions, as well as citizens, concludes the press release.

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

July 13, 2020: Coronavirus – Tangier totally confined

The local authorities of Tangier announced on Monday that the city will be completely confined as of noon. In a press release from the Ministry of the Interior, which reached Yabiladi, the local authorities announced the extension of the geographical perimeter concerned by the containment measures announced the day before to encompass the entire territory of the city of Tangier, that is to say more than 1 million inhabitants.

The same source also announces the suspension of urban transport, rail or road, from or to Tangier, as well as the intensification of control in order to encourage citizens to stay at home, and only go out when necessary.

Thus, traffic within the territorial area of the city of Tangier will require “an exceptional mobility permit issued by the local authorities”, while another document, also issued by the local authorities, is required to travel outside the city.

Finally, the local authorities indicate that the easing of these measures remains linked to the development of the epidemiological situation in the city of the Strait.

On Sunday evening, a press release from the Ministry of the Interior announced that as part of ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and limit its negative repercussions, a confinement of certain districts of the city has been decided as of Sunday 12 July 2020 at midnight. This measure comes in response to the emergence of new outbreaks of contamination in the city.

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

July 12, 2020: Several districts of the city of Tangier “re-confined” after the appearance of several clusters (Official)

Following the outbreaks in Tangier, several districts have been placed under quarantine with movement restrictions. According to a communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Interior on 12 July, a copy of which is held by Le Desk, the city of Tangier is in the process of being “reconfined”, starting at midnight on 12 July.

It is specified after the appearance of outbreaks of contamination in a number of neighbourhoods in the city of Strait. Residents will no longer be able to move around as before. However, the Interior does not specify which neighbourhoods exactly. Among the measures is the restriction of movement for Tangiers, except in cases of necessity.

Inhabitants of these areas must have a travel permit if they wish to leave their homes, it is stated. This is issued by the enforcement officers. Several establishments will be closed until further notice, the statement said. These include hammams and sports centres and halls. As for markets, shopping centres and shops, cafés and public spaces (gardens, forests, etc.), they will have to close from 8 p.m. onwards.

With regard to the possibility of leaving the city, the Interior specifies that an exceptional permit issued by the local authorities is required. As a reminder, on July 10, 2020, the government extended the state of health emergency until August 10, 2020. This situation allows the authorities to intervene whenever clusters appear, and take the necessary measures to stabilize the epidemiological situation in a given place.

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