03 – 08 August, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

| , ,

Photo by Jon-S_Flickr

August 08, 2020: The port of Laayoune closed “until further notice” because of COVID-19

The port of Laayoune will be closed “until further notice” in order to “avoid a second wave of the new coronavirus”, announced this Saturday the wilaya of the Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region.

In a statement from the Wilaya, relayed by MAP, the local authorities informed the owners of fishing boats and sailors that this closure was decided “because of the epidemiological situation in the city following the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and to avoid a second wave of this pandemic.

Until yesterday, the region of Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra has recorded more than 870 cases of coronavirus. Cases had significantly increased due to industrial outbreaks in fish processing units.

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

August 08, 2020: The kingdom’s airspace will remain closed until September 10, 2020

Morocco’s airspace will remain closed until September 10, according to a NOTAM message issued on Friday. Thus, “all flights to or from Morocco are suspended until further notice except for overflights and cargo flights,” it is said.

The message specifies that “crew members of cargo aircraft must remain on board and their stopovers should be shortened”.

And to note that “the repatriation of foreigners is provided by their government subject to authorization through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco”.

In addition, “Moroccan airlines will organize as many flights as necessary to repatriate Moroccan nationals, foreign residents in Morocco and their families”. The national carriers, after consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will also have to “request the authorisation of the Air Transport Directory (DTA/DGAC)”.

The message also specifies that these flights ‘must be operated taking into account the health conditions imposed by the competent authorities of each country’.

Finally, concerning Moroccans residing abroad as well as foreigners residing in Morocco, they can, according to the same source, leave the Kingdom at the end of their stay by the same air means.

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

August 07, 2020: Failure to wear a mask in Morocco would lead to a 300 dirhams fine

In view of the increasing number of cases of contamination, Morocco had decided to strengthen its existing legal measures. Thus, it has just introduced a fine of 300 dirhams against any citizen caught without his protective mask in public.

This new provision has been introduced to enforce “the state of health emergency and the precautionary measures to which citizens are bound”. Apart from the possibility of a prison sentence of up to “three months against offenders and fines of up to 1,300 dirhams”, already known, the Executive has just added the payment of a fine of “300 dirhams, to be paid immediately to avoid a trial”.

“Any violation of this rule will be the subject of a report written by a national security officer or the gendarmerie,” says the government, which specifies that it was obliged to do so following the general relaxation that was observed in compliance with the rules of wearing a mask and physical distancing.

This provision is therefore intended to ensure more effective implementation of the repressive provisions enacted by Decree-Law No. 2.20.292. “The payment of this fine will lead to the extinction of public action,” said government spokesman Said Amzazi. He said that “in the event that the offenders do not pay the fine, the report will be forwarded to the public prosecutor’s office in order to take the necessary measures within 24 hours of the offence being established.

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

August 07, 2020: Morocco is no longer a safe country to travel in, says EU

The European Union has removed Morocco in its latest update of the list of safe countries for travel, which was reviewed on Friday. The measure will take effect the next day, 8 August, leaving only 10 countries among the non-EU states where and from which travel is allowed, Reuters news agency Reuters reported.

Algeria was also removed from the list last week in the face of the latest developments in the epidemiological situation, showing an upsurge in infections from the new coronavirus pandemic. This Friday, this figure reached 84.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in Morocco, according to the latest daily assessment by the Ministry of Health.

The safe countries where the pandemic remains under control, according to the EU, are Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

China is one of the destinations from which travel is permitted, but this approval will only take effect if the Chinese authorities also allow EU citizens to enter its territory.

This list is a recommendation. Some Member States have a more restrictive or more flexible policy.

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

August 07, 2020: Ceuta-First installation of the new 10-metre high fence

The public company Tragsa has erected a first sample of what will be the new border fence in Ceuta, raised to a height of ten metres and crowned by large smooth metal cylinders instead of barbed wire with blades.

The company has placed two pieces, each about 2.5 metres wide, in the vicinity of the Finca Berrocal, where several of the most successful entries have taken place in recent years.

These parts are located on the side of the fence closest to Morocco, in an area where the concertinas have been replaced, in order to contain “more effectively” the migratory pressure by land on the autonomous city. “Each section has vertical bars at the bottom and plates without a net in the middle to make climbing more difficult. The top four metres are made up of a lattice and the cylinder,” describes Europa Press.

For the definition of these works, the public company Ingeniería de Sistemas para la Defensa de España (ISDEFE), which depends on the Ministry of Defence, has previously carried out “a complete technical study” of the situation of the border infrastructures.

Last year, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior commissioned Tragsa to carry out work to reinforce fences, replace concertinas and build new sections “in the most vulnerable areas” of the 8.2 kilometre-long Ceuta border perimeter. The works, worth €8.3 million, began at the beginning of December 2019 and will take 10 months to complete.

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

August 07, 2020: Tiznit – One fine for an individual who refused to wear his protective mask

Tiznit – The Court of First Instance of Tiznit imposed a fine of MAD 750 on an individual who refused to wear his protective mask.

This judgment was handed down because of the individual’s failure to comply with the preventive measures to be taken, provided for under the law on the state of health emergency and the procedures for its declaration, according to a judicial source.

It should be noted that the Governing Council, meeting on Thursday under the chairmanship of the Head of Government, Saad Dine El Otmani, adopted the draft decree-law No. 2.20.503 supplementing the decree-law No. 2.20.292 of 28 Rajab 1441 (23 March 2020) relating to the state of health emergency and the procedures for its declaration.

This text aims at a more effective implementation of the repressive provisions enacted by Decree-Law No. 2.20.292 by including specific provisions related to the non-respect of physical distance between persons and the wearing of masks as preventive measures to stem the spread of the epidemic.

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

August 07, 2020: 50 Sub-Saharan migrants perish while trying to reach the Canary Islands from Morocco.

At least 50 sub-Saharan migrants lost their lives on Thursday when the two boats they were on their way to the Canary Islands were wrecked, one off Dakhla and the other in Nouadhibou, Mauritania.

According to the Spanish agency EFE, the bodies of the first group were found by Moroccan fishing boats and members of the Royal Navy, according to official sources, who added that ten other migrants were rescued.

The sources added that the Moroccan authorities are continuing to mobilize to rescue possible survivors or to find the bodies that may have been on board the boat that sank about 20 kilometres south-east of Dakhla.

For her part, human rights defender and spokesperson for the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, Helena Maleno, noted on her Twitter account that the number of dead has risen to 27, while the number of people travelling on the boat is still unknown.

As for the second shipwreck, another 40 sub-Saharan migrants died after the boat they were trying to reach the Canary Islands capsized on the high seas but not far from the coast of Nouadhibou (Mauritania), according to a security source. Only one survivor was rescued.

The boat reportedly broke down and remained adrift for several days without being located, the same source explained, adding that its occupants decided to jump into the sea but all drowned, except for the survivor who was found on the shores of Nouadhibou by the Mauritanian authorities. Originally from Gambia, he assured that the boat left from the Moroccan coast.

EFE recalls that the Moroccan authorities found, on Monday, seven bodies of migrants and rescued 40 sub-Saharans off the coast of Tarfaya.

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

August 06, 2020: Morocco Deploys Field Hospital in Beirut

On 6 August, King Mohammed VI gave his instructions for urgent medical and humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese Republic following the tragic explosion in the port of Beirut, which caused several victims and extensive material damage.

The Sovereign thus gave instructions for the dispatch and deployment to Beirut of a military field hospital to provide emergency medical care to the injured population. The latest death toll, communicated in the morning, shows at least 137 dead and 5,000 wounded.
100 people, including 14 doctors

This field hospital is made up of 100 people, including 14 doctors from various specialties (resuscitators, surgeons, trauma, ENT, ophthalmologists, burn treatment, neurosurgeons, pediatricians, pharmacist), specialized nurses and support elements. It will house an operating theatre, inpatient, radiology and sterilization units, a laboratory and a pharmacy.

The Moroccan aid also includes a package of first aid medicines, food products (canned food, pulses, powdered milk, oil, sugar, etc.), tents and blankets for the accommodation of the disaster victims.

It also includes medical equipment for the prevention of COVID-19, including protective masks, visors, floats, gowns and hydro-alcoholic gel.

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

August 06, 2020: 26 positive cases found among sub-Saharan migrants in Tarfaya

Moroccan health authorities have detected 26 COVID-19-positive people among the 40 sub-Saharan emigrants, including 12 women, who survived Monday the sinking of a zodiac that was going to the Canary Islands.

According to the Regional Director of Health in Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra, Ali El Houari, quoted by the agency Efe, the appearance of cases in Tarfaya indeed concerns these 26 cases discovered after tests carried out on all migrants intercepted by the Moroccan authorities.

These candidates for clandestine migration had been placed in sanitary isolation, waiting to be tested for the virus.

1283 new cases of coronavirus contamination were recorded in Morocco in 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases since 2 March to 28,500 by Wednesday 5 August at 6 pm. The number of active cases climbs to 8071 cases, or 22.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Ministry of Health.

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

August 06, 2020: Morocco extends state of health emergency until September 10

Scheduled to end on 10 August, four days from now, the state of health emergency is again extended for another month. This decision was taken at the end of the government council meeting held this Thursday, in view of the latest developments in the epidemiological situation in Morocco, concerning the pandemic of the new coronavirus.

On March 19, the Ministry of the Interior had announced for the first time the state of health emergency, after the appearance of the first infectious outbreaks and the increase in cases of contagion by contact in Morocco.

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

August 05, 2020: Asymptomatic COVID-19 cases will be treated at home

Recommended by professionals, the home management of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, already in force since August 3, has just been made official by a circular dated August 5. In a circular addressed to the various officials of the Ministry of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb informs about the update of the protocol for the management of COVID-19 cases, the management of their contacts and the screening strategy.

Recommended by professionals and emergency physicians, home care is made official with this document dated August 5. It is indicated that this home care should only concern asymptomatic cases, provided that several conditions are met: the absence of risk factors related to age, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, pathological obesity, organ failure, cancer and all immunosuppression. In addition, the patient should not suffer from any psychological disorder and should be considered “capable of complying with the recommended precautions and reporting any clinical signs to the team in charge of the care, which can be contacted 24 hours a day”, the circular states.

Another condition is that the person must have a well-ventilated single room. The ministry’s document also addresses those present under the same roof as the patient :

  • These persons must leave the home during the entire period of care and isolation of the patient (set at 14 days).
  • In the event that it is impossible for them to leave the home, “these persons must be considered close contacts and rigorous medical monitoring of their state of health on a regular basis,” it is stated.
  • If these same individuals represent risk factors and cannot leave home, then the COVID-19 patient must be moved to a hospital setting.

Regarding the treatment of those being cared for at home, “standard curative treatment according to the current protocol” is mentioned, in addition to “awareness of adverse effects and barrier and hygiene measures,” it is stated. All the more so as daily telephone monitoring will be set up. An installation of Wiqaytna and other similar applications will also be done.

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

August 05, 2020: Morocco still in the second stage of the spread of the new coronavirus

Morocco is still in the second stage of spread of the new coronavirus as attested by the most recent report of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Health is told.

Thus, according to the latest statistics, Morocco occupies the 60th place worldwide and the 6th on the continental level in terms of the number of cases of infection with COVID-19, stressed Tuesday evening the coordinator of the National Center for Emergency Public Health Operations at the Ministry of Health, Mouad Mrabet, in his weekly statement on the epidemiological situation.

The Kingdom is indeed ranked 66th globally and 7th on a continental scale in terms of the number of deaths, 35th globally and 2nd in Africa in terms of COVID-19 screening tests.

Mr. Mrabet reviewed the evolution of the epidemiological situation in one week, specifying that the total number of infections has reached 25,537 cases, or 70 people per 100,000 and that the cure rate is 72%, or 18,435 remissions.

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

August 04, 2020: Cameroonian migrant killed after police discover a camp in the forest

On Friday 31 July, as many Moroccans were celebrating the Muslim feast of Eid-el-Kebir, a Cameroonian migrant was killed after police discovered an illegal camp in the forest north of Tangier. The authorities opened an investigation into the circumstances of his death. Thirteen other migrants were arrested after accompanying the deceased to the hospital.

Videos of a group of sub-Saharan migrants carrying the body of one of their own on a makeshift stretcher made from branches went viral on Moroccan social networks during the Eid el-Kebir/ Tabaski weekend. The man whose body can be seen in one of the videos was a Cameroonian named Felix. He was part of a group of migrants hoping to travel to Europe.

According to the Moroccan authorities, officers of the Auxiliary Forces, a military support force, discovered a migrant camp in the forest while they were conducting an operation in response to a fire alarm near the Donabo Gardens west of Tangier.

“They took our shoes and confiscated everything.” Joseph (name changed), another Cameroonian migrant, has been living in Morocco for more than a year and a half. He met Felix in Tangier. Both of them belonged to a community of other Cameroonian migrants. They were hiding on the shores of the Strait of Gibraltar, less than 25 km from the Spanish coast when they were spotted by the police.

We were at the water’s edge, in the forest where we were hiding. The police were searching the forest and found us. We didn’t make any noise. They told us to calm down and get out of the forest. They took off our shoes and took us out. Then they started confiscating everything we had. They took everything. They started looking in our phones and we said, “Please, at least leave us our phones so we can call our families. The only thing we have are our phones. You’ve taken everything, at least leave us that”. They said, “No.”

We got down on our knees. They said they were going to take everything and we resisted. They hit us with knives. We managed to fend them off with boat paddles. Then we started running in different directions. I was out of breath, and I was very afraid they’d take me.

To escape from the police, Joseph ran to a house where the migrants had stayed before. Only then did he learn of the death of his friend Felix.

Video footage shows migrants carrying Felix’s body on a makeshift stretcher, accompanied by several policemen.

The authorities of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima municipality told the Moroccan media that the migrant was already unconscious when the officers arrived at the scene. But according to Joseph, Felix was in good health before the police arrived. According to testimonies collected by the Moroccan Human Rights Association in Nador, the migrant was “violently hit on the head” by the police after being arrested on the beach.

Felix was taken to Mohammed V hospital in Tangier where he was declared dead. The 13 migrants who transported him and then accompanied him to the hospital were arrested.

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

August 04, 2020: the CGEM launches a “Health Plan”.

The General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) announced Tuesday the launch of a “Health Plan” made available to businesses to support them in the implementation of preventive and health measures against the pandemic of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

This new didactic guide, which takes into consideration the latest developments of this pandemic, aims to accompany companies of all sizes and all sectors, in all stages of implementation of health measures, from disinfection of staff transport to respect the distance of workstations, says the same source.

The “Sanitary Plan” is based on six axes, namely, transport, reception, common areas, workstations, disinfection and cleaning, and communication.

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

August 04, 2020: New restrictions in Tangier-Asilah and Fez prefectures (press release)

“Due to the increasing number of COVID-19 contaminations and deaths recorded in recent days, the government has decided to apply, from Wednesday August 05 , a series of preventive measures in the prefectures of Tangier-Asilah and Fez,” announced an official statement quoted by the MAP agency.

The Measures that will be applied in Tangier and Fez:

-Obligation to have an exceptional authorization to travel to and from Tangier and Fez.

-Prohibition of all gatherings without exception.

-Closure of local shops, supermarkets and cafes at 22H.

-Closing of restaurants at 23H.

-Closure of beaches and public parks.

-Closure of playrooms, sports halls and local fields;

-Reduction of public transport capacity to 50%.

Measures decided at the level of the residential quarters where the epidemic is spreading in Tangier and Fez:

-Closing off the accesses leading to these areas with security barricades.

-Movements to and from these neighbourhoods will be subject to special authorisations issued by the local authorities.

-Closing at 8 p.m. of local shops, supermarkets, cafés and restaurants;

-closing of local souks at 4 p.m.

-Closing of hammams and beauty salons

The government calls on the population to scrupulously respect these preventive measures. It concludes by announcing the firm implementation of controls on distancing in public places and the wearing of masks”.

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

August 03, 2020: Fez will have a 1200-bed field hospital

Health services in the Fez-Meknes region have been strengthened by the establishment of a field hospital. With its 1200 beds, it will aim to treat critical positive cases of coronavirus.

This health unit will have all the necessary equipment and facilities to fight against the coronavirus, according to what has been reported by the Communication Department of the Regional Health Delegation of Fez-Meknes. In addition to relieving the region’s health systems, this hospital will be able to provide care to people with coronavirus in the best possible conditions.

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

August 03, 2020: Officials of the Ministry of Health prohibited from leaving (Official)

According to an official document made public on August 3 consulted by Le Desk, the Minister of Health informs the various officials of his department that, in view of the evolution of the epidemiological situation, the annual leave for ministry officials has been cancelled in order to ensure continuity of health services.

In addition, a period of 48 hours is granted to civil servants already on leave to return to their posts. This decision affects all regions of the country.

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

August 03, 2020: Authorizations required to travel by train to and from the 8 quarantined cities

The ONCF reminds, this Monday, August 3, through a press release, “that pursuant to the decisions of the authorities, travel to and from stations in the cities of Tangier, Marrakech, Meknes, Fez, Casablanca, Berrechid and Settat require a valid authorization issued by the authorities”.

In the same press release, the office states that the “railway station of Rabat-Ville is always open to passengers”.

On Monday 3 August morning, passengers from one of the 8 cities who got off at Rabat-Ville were not allowed to leave the station if they did not have a special authorisation.

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