August 23 – 29, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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August 29, 2020: Medical staff exacerbated by mismanagement and lack of support

At the front for more than six months, medical personnel have been fighting the new coronavirus with very few resources and without a global vision, they denounce. But until when? And at what cost? (Testimonials).
The coronavirus has spared no sector. Deficient for decades, the health sector must not only overcome this crisis, but also fight the virus with very few resources. Having redoubled their efforts for more than six months now, medical personnel are at the end of their rope, and with the epidemiological situation worsening, future decisions will certainly prove decisive.

The most optimistic saw this crisis as a radical change in public policy. Health had to be at the top of the list. But “the management of this crisis is chaotic and the government has not been able to take advantage of this opportunity to review the country’s entire health system,” deplores Imad Sousou, Vice-Regional Secretary of the National Health Federation (FNS), affiliated with the UMT.

“We started this war against COVID-19 in February and we were aware of our failing health system, which is riddled with structural problems. In spite of this, the medical staff has been mobilized for months without any motivation or psychological or financial support. We are thus working in an unprecedented tension”, deplores the regional deputy secretary, emergency doctor at the Ibn Tofail hospital in Marrakech.

Tensions that have increased with the upsurge in cases for several weeks now. “The flow is very important and per day we do hundreds of samples,” explains Salim* emergency doctor at the Prefectoral Hospital Center (CHP) of Hay Hassani. “At Hay hassani hospital we received COVID-19 patients for the first three months, before stopping. Four weeks ago we started again. But the situation is really very complicated, as we were already tired and exhausted,” he confides to us.

Medical staff exhausted

An important flow resulting from the movements during the Eid, affirms our interlocutor. “Eid made everything explode. Maintaining it has been a serious mistake on the part of our government, as it has allowed the virus to circulate, reaching very remote areas, where treatment is complicated, if not impossible,” he continued.
Faced with the flow, the capacity of some hospitals has increased, especially in Casablanca and Marrakech, cities most affected by the new coronavirus. This is the case at the Ben M’sik HPC, where a second field hospital has been set up. This is good news, but it implies an additional burden for the medical staff, which has not been reinforced,” deplores Hatim*, an emergency doctor contacted by us.

An additional burden on “medical personnel who have been exhausted and who have not had a moment’s respite since the beginning of the epidemic,” continued the doctor. Indeed, on August 11th, the Ministry of Health decided to suspend “until further notice” the leaves for the medical personnel of the kingdom, which led to important sit-ins.
The ministry had also announced the payment of bonuses for medical staff. The staff working in emergency units should receive a 3,000 dhs bonus, those working in the ICU and maternity units should receive 2,000 dhs and 1,000 dhs for all other staff.
Bonuses which according to the three doctors contacted by us have still not been paid and which are moreover derisory. “We give us a few crumbs is not the answer, we should respond to our requests which are numerous,” criticizes Imad the trade unionist. These demands are first and foremost better human resources management,” he stresses.

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

August 29, 2020: Back to School, Health Code of Conduct and educational options to follow

On August 28, the Ministry of Education distributed a 60-page document defining the code of health conduct to be observed with regard to COVID-19 by the teaching and administrative staff of the schools, the students and their parents and the provisions relating to the protocols for holding classes for the start of the school year as well as the pedagogical options to be followed according to the epidemiological evolution.

The Ministry of National Education has called on schools to review the formulas and methods of their administrative and pedagogical management, to focus on pedagogical innovation and to achieve the required digital transformation.
In a guidance note addressed to educational leaders on the occasion of the start of the 2020-2021 school year, marked by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry emphasized the need to propose concrete solutions that take into account the particularities and environment of schools, in order to respond appropriately to the requirements of rapid adaptation to different educational models.

This note, which sets out the principles, pillars and main guidelines for the actual functioning of the adopted educational models, to be applied concretely at the school level, also calls on school directors to apply in an effective and optimal manner the various mechanisms and management mechanisms of the school and its participatory bodies.
It also encourages them to mobilize all the means and resources to meet the challenges of this exceptional school year, particularly by activating the roles of the different pedagogical supervision and management mechanisms and by making the “school project” a basic tool for the functioning of the pedagogical models within each school.
The essential provisions of this 60-page note are as follows:

Being present in the school is set up as the standard. It is replaced by distance when the prevalence of COVID-19 cases requires it, in which case face-to-face teaching becomes a provisional option.

These provisions apply to public, private (and similar) and pre-school establishments, particularly in rural areas or for students in precarious family situations.

Distance education will be provided through public television channels and via platforms approved by the Ministry of Education, with the option of virtual classrooms.

In terms of health security, before each access to the school, protocol measures are applied (taking the temperature of each student by his parents). In case of signs of COVID-19, the SAMU must be called, the confinement of the pupil at home is recommended along with a call to the n°141 and to the management of the establishment.

The school must provide a coordinator of the preventive health system who must animate an active watch unit one week before the school entrance.

Teaching staff suffering from chronic diseases or residing with vulnerable or at-risk persons will have the choice to work remotely.

A system of regular communication with students and their parents or guardians will have to be put in place.

Normative physical distance measures in all spaces, classroom (regularly ventilated), recess (1 meter separating in an arc any person, more than 1 meter in pre-school), the formation of rows, the prohibition of the parents’ crowd at the entrance of the schools, hygiene and sterilization of hands with hydro-alcoholic gel. Wearing a mask is compulsory from the fifth year of primary school.

School transport vehicles must not exceed 50% of their capacity. The mask is compulsory in transport vehicles for all students, whatever their age. A temperature reading is taken before boarding the school buses, which will be regularly disinfected.

An isolation area must be provided in each establishment showing signs suggestive of infection (temperature > 38°C, runny nose, sneezing, loss of physical senses, general fatigue, etc.). Medical masks must be worn by the administration staff. Those in charge of the establishment are required to notify the occurrence of suspicious cases to the alert numbers (141, 0801004747 and 300).
As a reminder, the next school year is scheduled for September 7, for all levels, public and private schools and foreign missions in Morocco.

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

August 28, 2020: Ban on Ashoura festivities in Marrakech and Safi

The authorities of the wilaya of Marrakech decided on Friday to ban the various festivities celebrating Ashoura as part of the health prevention measures aimed at stemming the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
This decision prohibits all festivities organized during Ashura 1442 H at the prefecture-level, including campfires (shouala), firecrackers, visits to cemeteries and gatherings of the people of Ashoura.

In safi, the same decision was taken by the governor of Safi province, Lahoucine Chaynane. This decision prohibits all festivities organized during Ashura 1442 H at the prefecture level, including campfires (chouala), firecrackers, visits to cemeteries and gatherings in neighborhoods.

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

August 27, 2020: Suspension of family visits in certain penitentiary institutions (DGAPR)

The General Delegation for Penitentiary Administration and Reinsertion (DGAPR) decided to suspend family visits to inmates of certain penitentiary institutions, in connection with the development of the epidemic situation in certain prefectures and provinces of Morocco.

In a statement released Thursday, the DGAPR said that the institutions affected by this decision are : Ain Sebaa 1, Ain Sebaa 2, Ain Sebaa reform and rehabilitation center, Ain Borja in Casablanca, Salé 2, El Arjat 1, El Arjat 2, the local prison of Kenitra and Oudaya in Marrakech, Tangier 1, Tangier 2, Tetouan, Ras El Ma and Bourkaiz in Fez.

This decision is part of the precautionary measures taken by the DGAPR to protect the prison population and the officials working there, concludes the press release.

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

August 27, 2020: Morocco not ready for plasma transfusion

The use of COVID-19 cured plasma on infected patients would have proved successful in many countries. But Morocco seems to rule out its use in the treatment protocol put in place.

Some have thought that with the increasing number of cases of contamination and deaths recorded in the aftermath of deconfinement, the Ministry of Health will see plasma transfusion from another angle. But nothing at all. Morocco continues to cling to chloroquine treatment. Yet many studies present the use of plasma as a credible and rapid alternative, reports Al Massae .

Among the countries that have adopted this type of treatment is the United States. It’s a process that allows patients to eliminate the virus quickly while preserving the body from some damage, sometimes irreversible. The method was first practised in 1892 in the fight against diphtheria. It was also used in 1918 against the Spanish flu, but also against other infectious diseases such as Ebola or SARS, indicates the same source.

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

August 25, 2020: Coronavirus – Chinese vaccine clinical trials begin in Moroccan volunteers

Clinical trials of the Chinese coronavirus vaccine are scheduled to begin this week at the military hospital in Rabat, the Ibn Sina University Hospital Center (CHU) in the capital, and the Ibn Rochd University Hospital Center (CHU) in Casablanca.
According to, “5,000 Moroccan volunteers will be subjected to these clinical trials that bring together Morocco and China”, and will be divided into three groups in the three hospitals. They will be isolated for 40 days, where they will be monitored and controlled daily by medical teams, it said.
Last Thursday, Morocco signed two partnership agreements with the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm CNBG (China National Biotec Group Company Limited) for clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine.
This Moroccan-Chinese collaboration will enable the Kingdom to ensure that Moroccan citizens will be among the first served in the field of vaccination against coronavirus, said Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb. He added that “Morocco will be able, probably very soon, to produce a vaccine within the framework of exchange of expertise between Rabat and Beijing”.

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

August 25, 2020: Cases of reinfection are not very frequent

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday that cases of re-infection with the new coronavirus will be “very few”, following Monday’s announcement of a first confirmed case in Hong Kong.
“There is probably only a small possibility that people will be re-infected with COVID-19,” said a WHO spokeswoman, Dr Margaret Harris, following reports from Hong Kong that one man had contracted the new coronavirus for the second time in more than four months.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Dr Harris downplayed fears that this development could herald a new coronavirus alert. “The important thing – the other important thing – to note is that the numbers are very, very small,” she said.

According to the WHO, this is one documented case out of more than 23 million and we will probably see more documented cases.
More broadly, the UN agency welcomes this dynamic to identify the effects of the pandemic. Until now, when a person was identified as re-infected, it was not clear whether this was due to a testing problem or actually a new infection, the WHO spokeswoman said. “The important thing is that it is clear documentation,” Dr. Harris noted.

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

August 24, 2020: Morocco third most affected African country

Morocco became one of most affected by this virus in Africa.
Indeed, at the end of three weeks having experienced an acceleration as dizzying as dangerous the spread of the pandemic, our country has just crossed the 50,000 cumulative cases since the beginning of the pandemic in the country (since March 02 more exactly). Above all, it has just made its entry into the sad African Top 3 countries in terms of cases of COVID-19 diagnosed, thus passing ahead of Nigeria which has a population almost six times larger. It must be said that between August 1st and August 23rd, the new recorded cases (more than 28,000) exceeded those counted in 5 months of the spread of the pandemic.

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

August 23, 2020: Back to school in Morocco, here are the scenarios chosen by the Ministry of Education

In anticipation of the school year 2020 – 2021, the Ministry of Education has prepared three scenarios according to the evolution of the epidemiological situation.
The first model foresees the adoption of 100% face-to-face education in case of improvement of the situation. The second model concerns the alternation between face-to-face education and self-teaching in case of improvement of the situation with the need to respect the preventive measures. The third model concerns the use of distance learning only in case of a worsening epidemiological situation.
In coordination with the departments of the interior and health, the Ministry of Education has decided to combine the second and third models by involving families in the decision-making process. Those who choose to opt for distance learning will be invited to fill out a form for the MASSAR system or at the schools.
Furthermore, the postponement of the regional examination of the first year of the baccalaureate comes in the context of a worrying epidemiological situation where class councils have made the decision of the students’ success on the basis of the marks of the continuous face-to-face monitoring.

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