July 20 – 26, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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July 26, 2020: Chaos on the roads and in train stations after the announcement of a travel ban to eight cities

From this Sunday midnight, travel to and from Fez, Casablanca, Tangier or Marrakech is forbidden due to the resurgence of the epidemic. The decision taken a few hours beforehand has caused an indescribable chaos on the roads and a rush to the bus and train stations causing traffic jams, traffic accidents and crowds.

A few hours were enough, after the announcement just before 7 p.m. on 26 July of the authorities’ decision to restrict access and departure from 8 cities, for real chaos to set in on the country’s roads and railway stations. This concerns Tangier, Tetouan, Fez, Meknes, Casablanca, Berrechid, Settat and Marrakech, with effect from midnight. The authorities are threatening “rigorous repressive measures” if the ban is not respected.

The Ministries of Interior and Health said they have taken this decision “taking into account the considerable increase in recent days of cases of contamination with COVID-19” and acting “as part of the strengthening of measures taken to fight against the spread of this pandemic”. They also deplore the “lack of respect by the majority of citizens for preventive measures, in this case social distancing, the wearing of masks and the use of disinfectants, despite their availability in large quantities in the markets”.

Countless publications by Internet users, but also live broadcasts from certain information sites show that travellers rushed as soon as the announcement of the imminent lockdown was made to reach their homes or their relatives as quickly as possible, on the eve of the celebration of Aid al-Adha.
For example, among others, the bus station of Ulad Ziane, one of the main bus stations in Casablanca, was literally stormed by travellers with unprecedented gatherings. The same goes for the railway station of Ain Sebaa, which was surrounded by police officers in order to avoid any overflow.

However, there are exceptions to this ban. People in need of “urgent medical needs” or those “working in the public and private sectors with mission orders issued by their managers” will be able to travel “provided they obtain a special travel permit issued by the local authorities,” the statement said. Travel related to the transport of goods and food supplies is also not affected by this ban.

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

July 26, 2020: From July 26 at midnight, ban on travel to and from several cities in Morocco

A joint press release from the Ministry of Interior and Health said that in view of the significant increase in recent days in the number of COVID-19 infections in a group of cities and provinces, it has been decided from Sunday 26 July at midnight to ban travel to and from the cities of Tangier. Tetouan, Fez, Meknes, Casablanca, Berrechid, Settat and Marrakech.

Here is the text of the press release “In view of the significant increase in recent days in the number of COVID-19 infections in Moroccan regions and cities, and based on daily monitoring summaries and a periodic assessment of the epidemiological situation in the country, and as part of the strengthening of the measures taken to limit the spread of this epidemic, as of Sunday 26 July at midnight, it was decided to prevent any movement from or towards the cities of Tangier, Tetouan, Fez, Meknes, Casablanca, Berrechid, Settat and Marrakech.

Exceptions to this decision include persons with urgent medical problems and persons working in the public or private sector who have travel permits from their employers and exceptional travel authorizations issued by local authorities.

It should be noted that this prohibition does not include the movement of goods and basic materials that are carried out under normal conditions, so as to ensure that citizens are satisfied with all their daily needs.

This decision was taken in view of the lack of respect by the majority of citizens for the preventive measures taken, such as physical distancing, the use of masks and the use of preventive methods, although they are widely available on the markets; as a result, infection has increased and the number of confirmed cases has risen.

In view of this situation, the public authorities call on all citizens to fully comply with these measures, and offenders will be subject to strict restrictive procedures in accordance with the law.

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

July 26, 2020: “Re-confinement remains an option at any time…” (Minister of Health)

The Aid Al-Adha festival comes this year in a particular situation requiring more “maturity” and “responsibility” to prevent against the pandemic of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), said Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb on Saturday.

“We welcome next week’s Aid Al-Adha, which is an opportunity for families gatherings. This opportunity comes this year in a particular and difficult situation, which requires maturity and responsibility to avoid unnecessary visits and physical contact and ensure compliance with preventive measures during family gatherings,” said Mr. Ait Taleb who was speaking at a webinar initiated by the Moroccan Society of Medical Sciences (SMSM).

One of the key measures to be respected to prevent COVID-19 is social distancing, he argued, noting that “reconfinement remains possible at any time in case of non-compliance with prevention and safety measures since the virus is always present” and is looking for the slightest opportunity to spread further.

He continued: “We are now facing a new challenge in dealing with COVID-19. It is a question of caring for people with chronic diseases and guaranteeing them continuity of treatment and health services in public and private hospitals”.

These services must not stop under any circumstances to avoid falls and undesirable repercussions, the minister added, praising the joint work and efforts, made by his department and the Moroccan Association of Pediatricians, Infovac-Morocco and other institutions, to increase the vaccination rate of infants, which has fallen during the period of confinement.

Mr. Ait Taleb also pointed out that the health situation in the Kingdom requires consolidation of efforts between citizens and the various state institutions in order to achieve health security and limit the spread of COVID-19.

He insisted on the crucial importance of respecting prevention measures, considering that success in the fight against this pandemic depends on an individual and collective commitment within the framework of complementarity where the citizen, the head of the family, the manager of the company, the administrative manager, the owner of public transport, etc., each in his position, work to promote and develop a culture of prevention capable of avoiding any contamination of this virus and other diseases. It is also a question of encouraging telework and digital technology to enshrine this culture and preserve health.

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

July 25, 2020: Coronavirus has led to a sharp drop in purchasing power

Moroccans have seen their purchasing power decrease considerably due to the COVID19 pandemic and containment. This is what an investigation by the High Commission for Planning (HCP) has just revealed.

The results of this survey, carried out from 15 to 24 June this year among 2,169 households, show the extent of the damage caused by the measure of containment on workers, especially the most precarious among them. By profession, “the drop in income affected 86% of craftsmen and skilled workers, 84% of shopkeepers, 77% of farmers and 26% of senior managers”.

In studying the effects of Covid-19 on food expenditure, the HCP focused on certain products such as flour and other cereals, vegetables, fruits, legumes, red meat, white meat, fish, milk and dairy products, table oils and, finally, sugar. The results show that one in two households has reduced its expenditure on certain food products. More than three out of ten households reduced spending on fruit and more than one out of four households reduced spending on red meats and fish. The decline is even more significant in rural areas.

According to the survey results, the situation will gradually improve in the coming months, “82% of households that have reduced their food expenditures expect this decline to continue,” the same source says.

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

July 26, 2020: 811 new cases registered today

Morocco recorded 811 new confirmed cases of coronavirus between Friday, July 24 at 18H00 and this Saturday at 18H00, bringing to 19,645 the total number of cases of contamination, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health.

In addition, 182 recoveries were recorded during this period and 6 new deaths.

Morocco has a total of 305 deaths for 16,282 recoveries.

The total number of cases excluded after negative laboratory results amounts to 1,106,568.

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

July 25, 2020: Mandatory Mask Wearing in Morocco- Sentences up to imprisonment

To protect the health and safety of citizens and in order to implement all precautionary and preventive measures against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and following the non-respect of some individuals in with the mandatory measures set for this purpose, public authorities recall that the wearing of masks is mandatory for all persons when moving outside their homes,” said a statement. “Any violation of this provision is punishable under article 4 of Decree-Law No. 2.20.292, which provides for “a prison sentence of one to three months and a fine of between 300 and 1,300 dirhams, or one of the two penalties without prejudice to the more severe criminal penalty,” the statement said.

In this sense, “the public authorities affirm their constant determination to strictly apply the mandatory measures. They “will not hesitate to apply the penalties provided for by law against any person who has violated the obligation to wear a protective mask,” the statement concluded.

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

July 24, 2020: Eid Al-Adha-ONCF launches special transportation plan

On Thursday 23 July, the National Railways Office (ONCF) announced the launch of a special plan for train traffic on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha. This approach aims to adapt the company’s offer to the increase in demand in order to better manage passenger movements during the summer period.

In addition to the regular trains, additional trains will be deployed on the busiest routes. Teams responsible for welcoming and orienting travellers will be reinforced in stations and onboard trains,” added the Agency. The Agency will carry out disinfection and cleaning operations on trains and in station areas and will make hydroalcoholic gel available in stations and onboard trains. Passengers are required to wear protective masks and to respect distance measures in stations and onboard trains. For more information, passengers are invited to consult the “Special Aid Al-Adha and Summer” timetable on the portals www.oncf-voyages.ma and www.oncf.ma or call the Customer Relations Centre at 2255.

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

July 24, 2020: COVID-19 in Morocco, fear of a second wave

The Moroccan authorities constantly call on citizens to show responsibility and patriotism in respecting preventive measures. After the ministers, it is the turn of epidemiological and public health experts to warn against complacency, which could undermine all the efforts made so far.

Although the epidemiological situation in Morocco seems to be improving, the battle against the new coronavirus is far from won. The virus is still circulating. This is why “any laxity on the part of citizens in implementing the preventive measures recommended by the competent authorities risks causing a spike in contamination in the country,” warn public health experts. The risk is great, especially during this summer period and the celebration of Eid Al-Adha, reports Al Ahdath Al Maghribia quoted by Le360.

For Driss El Habchi, head of the chemistry and toxicology department at the Pasteur Institute in Casablanca, “Morocco could reach levels that other European countries have already experienced if citizens do not vigorously respect the recommended preventive measures”. He fears a second wave of the virus.

As for Nabil Tachfouti, professor of clinical epidemiology, he is surprised to see that some people are behaving “as if the virus had been contained”. For his part, Azzeddine Ibrahimi, director of the biotechnology laboratory of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Rabat, encourages the wearing of masks which “reduces the risk of contamination by 50%”.

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

July 24, 2020: Eid Al Adha prayer to be performed at home this year

Following the example of Eid Al Fitr, Muslims in Morocco this year will have to perform the Eid Al Adha prayer at home.

The Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs has just announced through a press release that the faithful are not allowed to perform the prayer of the day of sacrifice in the Msalla and mosques, but that it is possible to do it at home.

This measure, says the ministry, is aimed at preserving the health of citizens against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

July 24, 2020: The ONCF makes the purchase of tickets conditional on a travel authorisation in Zone 2 station

Following the authorities’ decisions, the National Railways Office (ONCF) now makes the purchase of tickets for journeys departing from stations in Zone 2 conditional on travel authorisations.

In a press release published on Friday 24 July, the ONCF “reminds its customers that, in application of the authorities’ decisions, travel from stations located in cities classified in Zone 2, namely Tangier, Marrakech and Kenitra, is subject to the obligation to have a valid authorisation issued by the competent authorities”.

As a result, says the Agency, “the issue of travel tickets and access to trains will only be permitted to passengers with these authorisations”.

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

July 23, 2020: University Hospitals can carry out COVID-19 tests for Moroccans and foreign residents wishing to travel

The Ministry of Health has issued two new circulars dated 21 July authorising university hospitals and public laboratories to carry out COVID-19 tests on Moroccans and residents wishing to travel to foreign countries that require PCR. The price of this test is set at 500 DH.

On Tuesday 21 July, the Ministry of Health issued two new circulars (057 and 058) addressed to the regional directors of Health, the director of the INH (National Institute of Hygiene) and the director of the Pasteur Institute of Morocco, concerning the “realization of the medical biology test relating to SARS Cov-2”.

“As part of the accompaniment of Moroccan citizens and foreigners who reside in Morocco and who wish to travel outside the kingdom to countries that require PCR, the Ministry of Health makes available to them regional and provincial laboratories of public hospitals (…) and [those] of University Hospitals to perform medical biology tests based on the qRT-PCR technique, reference technique for the molecular diagnosis of SARS Cov-2,” reads circular 057 of which H24Info has received a copy.

In the second circular (058) relating to the “pricing of the medical biology test relating to SARS Cov-2 rendered by hospitals, institutes and public laboratories”, the department of Khalid Aït Taleb sets the amount of this PCR test at 500 DH. “Thus, those wishing to perform the PCR test with public services under the Ministry of Health, must go to the health facility closest to their place of residence with a copy of the national identity card and travel ticket,” says the document.

The ministry calls on “the managers of the various public hospitals and laboratories concerned” to “ensure the proper application of the terms of this circular” and “the success of this operation”. “The various heads of the above-mentioned laboratories are obliged to send a daily report of the results of the tests carried out (positive or negative cases) to the National Institute of Hygiene, which is responsible for coordinating COVID-19 diagnostic activities at the national level, at the following address: laboratoirescovid19@gmail.com.

As a reminder, the laboratories of the National Institute of Hygiene and the Pasteur Institute of Morocco, those of the Sheikh Zaïd Ibn Soltan Foundation in Rabat and the Sheikh Khalifa Zaïd Foundation in Casablanca, as well as private laboratories, are also authorized by the Ministry to carry out COVID-19 tests on individuals meeting the above-mentioned criteria.

Below is the updated official list of public and private structures performing covid-19 testing on citizens in their personal capacity. The Laboriad laboratory in Rabat (13, corner of Almelia Avenue and Meziata Street. Tel. 0537710506) has been added.

Laboratory/hospitalCity and addressPrivate/public
Institut national de santé27 boulevard ibn batouta code postale 769 Agdal Rabat Public
Le centre hospitalier régional de AgadirAgadirPublic
Le centre hospitalier régional Béni-mellalBéni-MellalPublic
CHU de CasablancaCasablancaPublic
Instiut pasteur à casablancaCasablancaPublic
Le centre hospitalier Provincial DakhlaDakhlaPublic
Le centre hospitalier régional ErrachidiaErrachidiaPublic
CHU de FesFes Public
Le centre hospitalier Provincial LaayouneLaayounePublic
CHU MarrakechMarrakechPublic
Le centre hospitalier régional MeknesMeknesPublic
Le centre hospitalier régional NadorNadorPublic
Le centre hospitalier régional OuarzazateOuarzazatePublic
CHU OujdaOujdaPublic
CHU Rabat RabatPublic
Le centre hospitalier provincial TetouanTetouanPublic
Institut pasteur TangerTangerPublic
Le centre hospitalier provincial SettatSettatPublic
CHU international Sheikh zaydRabatPrivate
CHU international sheikh khalifaCasablancaPrivate
Laboratoire sellai pour analyses médicales el jadida numéro 138 boulevard abou Chaib doukali el jadidaPrivate
Laboratoire international à Temara13 boulevard mohammed 6 Temara harbourPrivate
Laboratoire ibn NAFISS pour analyses médicales Tetouan22 rue youssef ibn tachefine TetouanPrivate
Laboratoire derb soltane pour analyses médicales425 boulevard mohamed 6 casablanca Private
Laboratoire pour analyses médicales BIOLABRue bayrout immeuble essaada entrée 4 RabatPrivate
Laboratoire pour analyses medicales Laboriad13 angle boulevard amélia et rue maziana Quartier arriyad RabatPrivate
Centre biologies medicales GLAB casablanca93 boulevard anoual Casablanca Private
Laboratoire centrales d’analyses médicales mohamedia 1 boulevard abderrahman sarghini immeuble elhor Mohamadia Private
Laboratoire international pour analyses médicales Casablanca Boulevard abdelmoumen rue racheti Casablanca Private

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

July 23, 2020: The PCR test fee is set at 500 DH in hospitals, institutes and public laboratories.

The Minister of Health published on 21 July 2020, a circular N° 058 relating to the pricing of the Coronavirus medical biology test given by public hospitals, institutes and laboratories, for people travelling outside Morocco.

The Ministry of Health has made available to Moroccans and foreigners residing in Morocco who wish to travel to countries that require PCR testing, regional and provincial laboratories under the jurisdiction of hospitals and university hospitals, as well as laboratories under the National Institute of Hygiene and the Pasteur Institute of Morocco for the performance of the medical biology test.

The Ministry also informs that the tariff applied for the realization of the PCR test at the level of the designated structures is fixed at 500 DH.

Persons wishing to carry out this test are required to go to the health establishment nearest to their place of residence with a copy of the national identity card and travel ticket.

In the circular of the Minister of Health, no mention is made of private laboratories in carrying out this service.

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

July 23, 2020: Ban on leaving Tangier during Eid al-Adha

The authorities have decided to ban travel outside the city of Tangier during Eid al-Adha to reduce the risk of contagion from the new coronavirus.

According to a note from the employers’ confederation (CGEM) published Thursday, “economic operators have been informed that it would be strictly forbidden to leave the city of Tangier (north-west) during the period of Eid al-Adha”, the festival of Sacrifice scheduled this year on Friday, July 31.

Local businesses have therefore been asked not to issue travel permits to their employees for this period, the note said after a meeting at the local prefecture.

After the appearance of new outbreaks of COVID-19 contamination, the authorities had announced on 13 July a severe confinement in the large port of Tangier (approximately one million inhabitants), before relaxing the measures in the face of public protests.

The Tangiers region is the one with the most active cases in Morocco. According to the latest assessment of the Ministry of Health, about 18,000 contaminations have been recorded throughout the country, including 285 deaths.

Several outbreaks of contamination have also been recorded in recent weeks in the industrial areas of the kingdom. In an attempt to curb the pandemic, the authorities have already closed 514 production units for “non-compliance with health measures”, according to the latest official figures.

On Sunday, Head of Government Saad-Eddine El Othmani called on the population to limit their movements during Eid in order to “celebrate the festival safely and without contamination”.

After three months of confinement, under high police surveillance, a certain laxity in the face of preventive measures – wearing a mask, physical distancing – has appeared in several cities in Morocco despite repeated warnings from the authorities.

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

July 21, 2020: Eid Al Adha will be celebrated on Friday, July 31 in Morocco (Ministry of Habous)

The 1st Dou Al Hijja of the year 1441 of the Hegira corresponds to Wednesday, July 22, 2020 and Eid Al Adha will be celebrated on Friday, July 31, announced Tuesday the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs.

In a statement, the ministry said that the lunar crescent announcing the month of Dou Al Hijja of the year 1441 of Hegira was observed Tuesday evening (July 21) and therefore Eid Al Adha will be celebrated on 10 Dou Al Hijja 1441 corresponding to July 31, 2020.

May God fill this blessed month with His blessings HM King Mohammed VI, Amir Al Mouminine, and renew such occasions for the Sovereign in glory and for HRH Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan and all members of the illustrious Royal Family in well-being and for the Moroccan people and the Islamic Ummah in progress and prosperity, the communiqué concludes.

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

July 21, 2020: NGOs denounce the tightening of conditions for renewal of residence permits

The Platform of Sub-Saharan Associations and Communities in Morocco (P. ASCOMS) expressed, on Monday, its concern about the “tightening of the conditions for renewal of residence permits” for migrants in Morocco.

In a statement that reached Yabiladi, the platform also denounces “the abolition of the department of migration affairs within the former Ministry of Moroccans Residing Abroad and Migration Affairs, which was the direct interlocutor on migration issues”.

The NGO collective also denounced new measures that undermine the humanitarian philosophy of the new migration policy adopted by the kingdom.

“Since June 2018, the situation of migrants seems to be taking a new turn on the issue of the conditions for renewal of residence permits, which no longer respect the exceptional nature of the new migration policy. After 6 years of regularisation, migrants are subject to stricter conditions for the renewal of their residence permits”, they added

The platform thus cites the obligation to present the work contract or work certificate, the lease contract, the CNSS certificate, the criminal record, the medical certificate, bank statements, the salary certificate, the pay slip. And to consider that this situation would push migrants towards “irregularity and clandestinity”.

P. ASCOMS finally recommends “respect for the philosophy of the exceptional nature of regularisation to facilitate the renewal of residence permits”, “the establishment of awareness programmes for Moroccan landlords who rent their houses to migrants, in order to facilitate the granting of lease contracts” as well as “the reform of Law 02-03 of 2003 on the entry and stay of foreigners in the Kingdom of Morocco, emigration and irregular immigration”.

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

July 20, 2020: Forest fire in Tangier near the area of the special field hospital COVID-19

The fire broke out in the forest estates, before spreading to neighbouring regions. Protection personnel intervened immediately and came to the scene to put out the fire so it does not reach the field hospital designated to treat COVID-19 patients and some residential areas in the region. A special helicopter also came to the scene to work to bring the fire under control.

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