August 16 – 22, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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August 22, 2020: Back to school-distance learning will be the rule, classroom attendance will be possible in certain conditions

A press release of the ministry of education stated that attendance will be possible upon the request of the parents and according to a procedure that will be defined later. This decision concerning distance learning does not necessarily concern the whole school year and may change at any time if the epidemiological situation allows it.

This decision concerns all cycles of education. From the fifth year of primary school onwards, all pupils will be obliged to wear the mask.

Here is the text of the press release

“Distance education will be adopted as a pedagogical model at the beginning of the school year 2020-2021, which begins on September 7,2020, for all cycles and levels, in all public and private institutions as well as in foreign schools.

“Face-to-face teaching will be provided for learners whose parents opt for this model, and a mechanism will be established to enable families to make such a choice.

“This decision is based on the current epidemiological situation in the country, which is marked by a significant increase in cases of infection, critical cases and deaths.

In order to preserve the health and safety of pupils, teaching and administrative staff, the Ministry will ensure that the appropriate conditions are in place for the start of the new school year by establishing a strict health protocol taking into account the preventive measures taken by the health authorities.

These include the compulsory wearing of masks from the fifth year of primary school onwards, regular hand washing, respect for physical distance by reducing the number of pupils in classes, and disinfection of the various school structures and outbuildings.

As part of the proactive measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, an integrated 2020 plan has been drawn up in accordance with the evolution of the epidemiological situation, emphasizing that the educational model could be adapted at any time during the next school year at the local, provincial or regional level in the light of developments in the situation, in coordination with the local and health authorities.

In the coming days, the supervisory department will ensure that the education family, students and their parents, as well as all citizens, are informed of the various actions related to the management of the 2020-2021 school year in the exceptional context marked by the pandemic.

Concerning the Unified Regional Examination for the first year of the baccalaureate, initially scheduled for 4 and 5 September, it has been postponed to a later date.

Pedagogical and administrative managers, families, social partners and all actors in society are invited to become effectively involved in order to ensure the success and implementation of the measures thus adopted, with a view to guaranteeing the right of all learners to education.

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

22 August, 2020: Coronavirus in Morocco-186 severe cases, 42 on artifical respirators

The Ministry of Health reports that 14,914 patients are currently being treated in various Moroccan hospitals or at home for the least serious cases.

Among these patients, there are 196 in a serious condition, including 42 people on artificial respirators, says Mouad Mrabet, director of the National Centre for Emergency Operations at the Ministry of Health.

In addition, Morocco has recorded, in the last 24 hours, 41 new deaths, 1565 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of contaminations to 50 812 since the beginning of March.

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

21 August, 2020: A Migrant died on Thursday while trying to cross the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla

A migrant died on Thursday after falling five meters while trying to cross the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, the Spanish authorities announced. Neither his identity nor his nationality was revealed.

A migrant died on Thursday 20 August as he and 300 others tried to cross the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, the Spanish authorities said.

The man had tried to cross the triple border fence, equipped with dense barbed wire, around 6:30 am (4:30 am GMT). He fell five meters into a stream near the border, according to a Civil Guard spokesman, quoted by AFP.

“It was dark, the area was unknown to him and it seems he fell. We do not know if the death was due to shock, or a cardiac arrest,” he said. In a statement, the prefecture of Melilla, for its part, mentioned a death “of natural causes”, without specifying neither the identity nor the nationality of the deceased.

A total of eight migrants were injured and are “bruised”, as well as three Civil Guard officers, who suffered a dislocated shoulder, a cut on the head and hypoglycemia. “It was not a violent assault, just the usual jostling between those who try to enter and those who prevent them from doing so,” the spokesman said.

The Spanish prefecture said that “of the 300 or so migrants who tried to cross, around 30 succeeded. The others were intercepted and turned back by the Moroccan authorities. »

This attempt is one of the most massive observed this year in the autonomous city of Melilla which, together with the other Spanish enclave of Ceuta, form the only land borders between the European Union and Africa.

The containment due to the pandemic has significantly reduced the number of arrivals in the enclaves, which amounted to 1 383 from 1 January to 31 July, compared to 3 313 in 2019 for the same period. Conversely, arrivals have surged on the Spanish Canary Islands, despite a long and dangerous crossing due to ocean currents.

Since the beginning of August, at least 27 people have died off the coast of Mauritania, south of Morocco, while trying to reach the Canary Islands.

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

August 21, 2020: The Revolution of King Mohammed VI and the People against the Pandemic COVID-19

Since the beginning of August, Morocco has been facing an outbreak of new cases of people affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is experiencing a situation that is as worrying as it is alarming. This increase of contaminated cases amounts to more than a thousand new cases per day.

King Mohammed VI made this clear in his speech to the nation on the 67th anniversary of the King and People’s Revolution. The Sovereign, while recalling the symbolism of this event, addressed the health crisis of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that the Kingdom is going through, warning against a slackening and subtly linking the two events,

“The History of Morocco is thus richly woven of events that bear witness to the perfect symbiosis between the Throne and the people, always united in the face of life hardships. This is the state of mind that, during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, animated the Moroccans who then showed their commitment and collectively got involved. During this period of crisis, through our joint efforts, we succeeded in mitigating the health impact and its economic and social consequences”.

However, he also warned about the increased number of contaminations:

“If this upward trend continues, the Scientific Commission responsible for monitoring the evolution of COVID-19 could recommend a return to containment, or even a tightening of health measures.”

To this end, the Sovereign called for the responsibility of all, in order to overcome this challenge by mobilising, monitoring and committing to the national effort, because without responsible behaviour on the part of all, it is not possible to get out of this situation.

In this regard, the political analyst Karim Ayach, a researcher in international relations, who confided to Hespress, suggested that through the royal speech, the Sovereign in calling to join the spirit of mobilization that once prevailed behind Sultan Mohammed V to confront French colonialism called for another Revolution of the King and the People except that this time, the fight is different. The enemy is not a colonizer, but a virus which, faced with an ambient laxity, is constantly spreading. And the analyst adds that “the threat faced by Moroccans in the past was called world imperialism, but today, the same characteristics and principles distinguish the coronavirus. Impassively, it is spreading throughout the planet, entering homes sowing death, suffering and despair”.

He continued: “The historical link in which King Mohammed VI is transposing us is that this is a new challenge, which must re-establish a national cohesion that is going astray and bring us back to the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents in the face of colonialism”. Ayach stressed that “this interconnection between the throne and the people all cohesive and united had one single objective, that of expelling the colonialist and restoring national sovereignty”.

He concluded “If the colonial generation has taken up the challenge with the return of the late Mohammed V and the royal family in exile, the expulsion of the colonizer and independence, then the current generations before a colonizer of another kind, the coronavirus (COVID-19) will have to do the same even if this new enemy “is not fought with weapons and combat tactics, but with prevention, common sense, civism, the duty of citizenship and patriotism”.

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

21 August, 2020: After Benslimane, Mohammedia closes its beaches (Official)

After the province of Benslimane, it is the turn of the Mohammedia prefecture to close its beaches for fear of a spread of COVID-19. The closure follows the decision of the governor of the prefecture Hicham M’daghri Alaoui who announced a ban on swimming in the beaches of Mohammedia and Ain Harrouda.

“The authorities of Mohammedia and Benslimane obviously fear a rush on their beaches by Casablanca residents, following the government’s decision to close the beaches of the metropolis, Dar Bouazza and Paloma, near Ain Harrouda, in reaction to the emergence of new outbreaks of infection,” said a MAP report.

As a reminder, the regions of Casablanca-Settat and Marrakech-Safi remain the most affected by the pandemic, which has recorded a peak in cases of contamination in recent weeks.

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

August 20, 2020: Vaccine – Clinical trials start in Morocco next week (Ministery of Health)

This Moroccan-Chinese collaboration will enable the Kingdom to ensure that Moroccan citizens will be among the first served in terms of vaccination against coronavirus, Health Minister Khalid Aït Taleb told the press at the end of the signing ceremony via video-conference, simultaneously in Rabat and Beijing, of these agreements.

Morocco will be able, probably very soon, to produce a vaccine within the framework of an exchange of expertise between Rabat and Beijing, he added.

Expressing his conviction that the return to the normal pre-covid situation will only be achieved with a vaccine, Mr. Ait Taleb stressed that this vaccine is very promising since it has already been approved by several countries. The minister also noted that the vaccine trials will initially involve volunteers as early as next week, adding that the agreements reached will allow Morocco to have its own vaccine as soon as possible.

It should be noted that the Chinese laboratory, well supported by the Beijing authorities, has signed similar agreements with the Emirates and Peru.

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

August 19, 2020: Save_Marrakesh and #Marrakesh_is suffocating, two hashtags to alert on the situation in the city

Activists and health sector professionals have launched two hashtags to raise public awareness of the worsening health situation in recent days in Marrakech. Through #أنقذوامراكش (#Sauvez_Marrakesh) and #مراكشتختنق (#Marrakesh_is suffocating), Internet users are launching a virtual appeal to the authorities regarding the increase in positive cases of COVID-19 in the city, particularly those requiring admission to ICU services.

These two hashtags come after the proliferation on social networks of photos, videos and audio recordings testifying to the conditions of follow-up of COVID-19 cases in Marrakech’s hospitals and health centres, particularly the Ibn Zohr public hospital, better known as Mamounia.

Between lack of equipment and overcrowding, in this hospital, three directors have succeeded one another since the beginning of the pandemic, all of whom have given their resignation. The internal doctors of this regional hospital centre (CHR), on Monday, August 17, notified the management of their withdrawal from the volunteer work they had been providing since March “because of the lack of security, accommodation and isolation”, but also “because of the lack of a clear vision for the period ahead”.

According to some TelQuel Arabi sources, “the phone of the Minister of Health (Khalid Aït Taleb, editor’s note) has not stopped receiving dozens of photos and videos from inside the CHR in recent days, which prompted the regional director of health to meet two days ago with professionals to clarify what is happening there.”

On the hashtags, Internet users relay testimonies of people showing symptoms who have been told by hospital staff to turn back, without even being tested, or others who have not been able to benefit from adequate medical assistance, such as artificial respiration.

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

August 19, 2020: Covid+ care-About twenty NGOs denounce their exclusion to Ait Taleb

Some 20 civil society organizations working to promote the right to health have denounced their exclusion from the strategy of outpatient management of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“We, the representatives of civil society organizations working in the field of the promotion of the right to health who signed this letter, are surprised and deeply disappointed that civil society is excluded from the strategy of ambulatory management of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19,” they wrote in a letter sent to the Ministry of Health and relayed by L’Economiste.

Recalling that they were “very quickly mobilized during the period of containment”, the 22 NGOs believe that “the current health, social and economic circumstances, attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, require the mobilization of all available resources for a synergy of action to reduce the effects of this unprecedented health crisis on our citizens”.

And to ensure that the said associations “are able to ensure rapid serological screening for COVID-19, the referral and support of suspected or confirmed cases followed up on an outpatient basis in perfect synergy and in close collaboration with hospital structures, health authorities and administrative authorities”.

The letter is signed by the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (OMDH), the Moroccan Coalition for the Right to Health, the Association for the Fight against AIDS (ALCS) and the Moroccan Prison Observatory, among others.

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

18 August, 2020: Morocco considers products manufactured in Melilla as non-European

In Melilla, traders are complaining about the consequences of a new decision taken by the Moroccan customs on their turnover, report Ceuta TV and El Confidencial.

The Confederation of Local Entrepreneurs states, in a press release, that since the beginning of this month “the Moroccan customs no longer accepts the EUR-1 form, which certifies the European origin of goods, if the exporting company has its headquarters in the autonomous city. In accordance with the Association Agreement between the European Union and Morocco, this certificate gives the right to a significant reduction or even exemption from tariffs on European goods”.

By considering non-European goods manufactured in Melilla, Rabat “thus prevents Melilla from selling its products, as it has to compete with many cheaper products”, explains the online publication.

The new Moroccan decision is part of its strategy to combat smuggling. An activity that annually brings 45 million euros to Melilla’s economy, the same source says. Two years ago, Morocco decided to close its trade border with Melilla for the same reasons.

At the end of June, the Minister of Economy and Finance told the House of Representatives that “recently, a series of measures have been taken to reduce smuggling operations that threaten the health of citizens, significantly impact national businesses and damage the state budget”. Mohamed Benchaaboun said that Morocco is working to “rehabilitate” the borders of Ceuta and Melilla to ensure their main mission, namely: “the smooth movement of people and travelers” and not goods.

As a reminder, Morocco plans to create a “Zone of economic activity of Fnideq”. The project, to which the El Othmani executive has devoted 200 million dirhams, is intended to limit smuggling between Fnideq and Ceuta. It thus complements the other industrial zone in Nador which targets smuggling from Melilla.

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

August 18, 2020: Hirak – Nasser Zefzafi and Nabil Ahamjik on hunger strike

Ahmed Zefzafi has announced that his son, who is being held in Ras El Ma prison, has started a hunger strike with Nabil Ahamjik. Both were sentenced to 20 years in prison at the end of the trial of Hirak du Rif activists held in Casablanca. The two figures of the movement have been on strike since Friday, in protest against pressure they say they are under from the prison administration.

The live Facebook update announcing the hunger strike says Nasser Zefzafi and Nabil Ahamjik began their strike after the prison administration reportedly refused their demands, including that of transferring them to Selouane prison in Nador, where other Hirak prisoners are held, to allow all families to visit their relatives.

According to Ahmed Zefzafi, the two activists also asked for access to books and newspapers, to be able to go shopping several times a week, to be able to go out and to have a better quality of food. Since they began their hunger strike, “they have been put in individual cells,” warned the father.

In solidarity with the two detainees, he calls on all those who support them to observe a hunger strike for 24 hours, starting next Sunday at six o’clock in the morning.

In the same live broadcast, Nasser Zefzafi’s mother also called on the supporters of the Hirak of the Rif to respond to this initiative proposed by the two activists who, according to her, are in danger.

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

18 August, 2020: Morocco-A negative 72-hour PCR test required to travel to France

The tests are to be carried out as soon as possible. During a transitional phase, tests may be carried out on arrival in France. Following the removal of Morocco from the EU list of safe third countries, France has introduced new measures for travellers from the United Kingdom and Morocco.

Also, the French embassy in Morocco has indicated that “French nationals, Moroccans residing in France and Moroccan students with long-stay visas, in particular, can continue to travel to France, provided they present: an international travel permit, a certificate of honor and a negative PCR test – of 72 hours”.

The model authorization is available on the website of the French Ministry of the Interior, while the declaration on honour must state the absence of symptoms of infection and contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within 14 days prior to departure.

The negative -72-hour PCR test, required for those over 11 years of age, to board flights to France, and the deadlines for implementing these measures are as follows: “The tests must be carried out as soon as possible. During a transitional phase, tests may be carried out on arrival in France. We invite you to get in touch with your airline to find out how these measures will be implemented on your trip,” the French embassy said on Twitter.

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

August 17, 2020: Publication of a “strategic note” on the impact of COVID-19 in Morocco

The Office of the High Commissioner for Planning (HCP), the United Nations System (SNU) in Morocco and the World Bank (WB) on Monday released a jointly developed “strategic note” to deepen the understanding of the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Morocco, through a unique, inclusive and collaborative approach and formulating strategic recommendations based on reliable data.

This “strategic note” presents the pandemic situation in Morocco on the date of its publication and sets out the analysis of the evolution of the economic and social situation in the country since the beginning of the crisis, taking as reference the results of surveys and analyses conducted by the HCP as well as the World Bank’s reports on the economic outlook in Morocco, says a joint statement by the HCP, the UN system and the WB. The said note also presents the actions undertaken by Morocco and highlights the main recommendations of the UN system agencies to accompany an integrated and effective response to the economic and social repercussions of the crisis.

It calls for looking in the crisis, opportunities to be seized for a recovery aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDOs), the communiqué states, noting that its recommendations call for greater attention to monitoring multidimensional poverty, innovation in the collection and analysis of contextualized data, investment in the continuity of public education and health services during and after the crisis, as well as strengthening regionalization and enhancing the role of civil society.

The “strategic note” and its various recommendations are intended to serve as a working tool for an immediate, medium and long-term socio-economic response to COVID-19 in a collaborative spirit of shared responsibility to meet the needs of vulnerable people, protect jobs and livelihoods and enable a gradual and sustainable recovery of the economy, the same source adds.

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

16 August, 2020: Several neighbourhoods closed in Marrakech

The epidemiological situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly worrying in Marrakech. The number of contaminations continues to increase, as does the number of deaths and the number of people admitted to intensive care and resuscitation units. In an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the local authorities have taken several restrictive measures.

In a communiqué issued on 16 August, the Wilaya of the Marrakech-Safi region indicated that these measures fall into two broad categories, namely those of a general nature covering the entire territorial jurisdiction of the prefecture and others are specific to certain urban areas.

Specific measures have been taken for 7 urban areas. These are the areas of Sidi Youssef Ben Ali, Hay Hassani, Hay Mohammadi, M’hamid, Menara, Jemaa Fna and Kechich. The measures relating to these areas concern the intensification of control operations, the partial or total closure of certain neighbourhoods in order to stop the spread of COVID-19, while restricting travel except in cases of extreme necessity (work, health reasons or shopping). It was also decided to set the closing time for cafés and restaurants at 10 p.m. and to intensify control operations of industrial and professional units to ensure that they comply with the preventive measures in force.

As for the general measures covering the entire territorial jurisdiction of the Prefecture, these include intensive awareness-raising operations with a view to raising awareness of the danger of slackness in compliance with preventive measures and its negative repercussions, including hygiene, the compulsory and correct wearing of masks, social distancing, avoiding travel except in cases of extreme necessity and putting an end to gathering in the streets and neighborhoods.

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