06 – 13 September 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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Photo: John S. sur Flickr

September 13, 2020: New restrictions for the province of Kenitra

On September 12, the authorities imposed several restrictive measures targeting the towns of Kenitra and Mehdia. The measures will be effective from this Sunday and will last for a week, the local authorities say.
The measures will include the cessation of all commercial activities from 18:00, except for pharmacies, which will have to remain operational.

At 18:00, travel in the city will also be banned and a curfew introduced. In the last 24 hours, the Rabat-Salé-Kenitra region has registered 237 cases of COVID-19, 39 of which were in the city of Kenitra.

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

September 12, 2020: After Casablanca, the authorities impose strict measures in Agadir

The committee in charge of monitoring the evolution of the epidemiological situation in the prefecture of Agadir-Ida Outanane took a series of preventive measures on Friday to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of a meeting held at the headquarters of the prefecture, it was decided to close the commercial complex “Souk Al-Ahad” for a period of two weeks, starting next Tuesday (September 15, 2020), because of the outbreaks of contamination, said a statement from the prefecture.

The authorities have also decided to close all beaches of Agadir, from Saturday, September 12, as part of the strengthening of preventive measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Cafés, convenience stores and supermarkets are also to close at 10 pm and restaurants from 11 pm, while public gardens will be closed to the public.

Specialised committees at the local level have been set up to promote awareness (disinfection and sterilisation, compulsory wearing of protective masks, and physical distancing) among citizens, with a view to stemming the resurgence of cases of contamination, says the same source.

“Citizens are called upon to scrupulously observe the precautionary and preventive measures announced and to commit themselves, with responsibility and solidarity, to national efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19,” the statement concludes.

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

September 11, 2020: Health crisis in Morocco-Catching up on vaccination delays to protect children’s lives

In addition to the threat to health, the pandemic of the new coronavirus is undermining progress in the fight against child mortality. While under-five deaths have reached 5.2 million in 2019, the disruption in child and maternal health services caused by the health crisis threatens recent progress. Indeed, last year marked a world record drop in under-five mortality from 12.5 million in 1990.

UNICEF warned of the trend this week, based on a survey conducted this summer. Initial results show that nearly 68% of the 77 countries surveyed reported a disruption in immunization services and medical check-ups for children. “63% reported disruptions in antenatal check-ups and 59% reported disruptions in post-natal care,” says the UN agency.

In its new mortality estimates, published together with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the World Bank Group, UNICEF thus emphasizes the urgency of accelerating efforts. It warns that “current trends predict that nearly 23 million children between the ages of 5 and 24 and 48 million children under the age of 5 will die between 2020 and 2030”. Moreover, “almost half of the deaths of children under five will be newborn babies”.

This resurgence is a particular illustration of the influence of social and economic development on children’s health, according to UNICEF. It believes that “basic health services such as immunisation, medical treatment, adequate nutrition, clean water and sanitation become matters of life or death when children and young adolescents do not have access to them”.

Despite the pandemic, vaccination remains a public health issue

Thanks to a National Immunisation Programme in Morocco and accelerated vaccination campaigns since the 1990s, the mortality rate for newborns and babies aged 28 months or less has fallen from 35.9 per 1,000 births (1990) to 13.6 (2019). To maintain this trend, doctors recommend continuing to vaccinate children, despite the constraints of the pandemic.

Having observed a “sharp drop” in vaccination for fear of COVID-19 infection, the paediatrician, and member of the Moroccan Paediatric Society, Khalid Tazi, warns of the risk of a reappearance of “certain diseases that we have managed to eradicate”. Also a member of the Casablanca Association of Private Paediatricians, he insists that “rotaviruses, measles and poliomyelitis, among other childhood diseases, are more deadly for the little ones than the new coronavirus, hence the importance of continuing to go to doctors’ offices, dispensaries or surgeries for vaccination”.

In Morocco, “the majority of the compulsory and important vaccinations are also available in health centres, regardless of the economic situation of the parents, some of whom have been affected by the crisis,” says the doctor. He stresses the dual importance of this operation, especially with the start of the school year, when children gather in nurseries and primary schools.

“If this happens, we risk having to treat illnesses that need to be treated urgently, when hospitals do not have the capacity to handle these cases, while at the same time taking care of COVID+ and chronically ill patients” Dr. Khalid Tazi added.

The doctor reassures that “after a stock shortage on the market of certain vaccines, with the suspension of international flights, the batches are now available”, which may make it possible to make up for the delay of these few months. He insists that “the WHO and Moroccan paediatricians’ associations recommend that vaccination programmes should not be interrupted, and that the flu vaccine should preferably be added to them”.

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

September 11, 2020: New rules to govern the conduct of football matches

Since the resumption of Botola on July 24th through the holding of update matches behind closed doors, cases of coronavirus infection have been detected among the staff and players of several clubs, leading to the postponement of some matches.

In a circular published on Thursday, September 10, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) and the Ministry of Health issued new criteria and rules to allow the smooth running of matches.

The circular brings new criteria to the health deconfinement guide published last June by the Federation. Its aim is to ensure that matches take place in conditions that reduce the risk of spreading the virus and that the various competitions are completed in time to meet the Kingdom’s international commitments.

It is an active surveillance system, involving the medical staff of each of the clubs:

  • The detection of clinical signs suggestive of Covid-19, through a daily clinical examination including an interrogation in search of symptoms suggestive of the disease as well as the notion of contact with a confirmed or probable case of Covid-19, in addition to a physical examination, including a compulsory temperature reading.
  • Regular screening of all limbs by RT-PCR testing at the rate of one examination every fortnight. The tests will condition the participation of players and members in competitions.

Therefore, only positive cases should be excluded from the competition and treated according to the protocol in force. The risk exposure of other team members will be evaluated during the investigation, to be carried out according to the procedures in force. In addition, they must be screened after one week.

Players and staff members who test negative can then take part in the competition. Matches will only be rescheduled if a threshold of more than 6 players are found to be positive.

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

September 10, 2020: Royal Air Maroc-Borders remain (partially) closed

Following the extension of the state of health emergency until 10 October, Royal Air Maroc is renewing its special flight programme.

In view of the critical situation linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the state of health emergency has been extended by the government until 10 October. Clearly, the borders will remain partially closed. Under these conditions, Royal Air Maroc (RAM) is cancelling all its international flights from 11 September until the end of the state of emergency. However, special flights are still scheduled for the same period.

The regular flights, initially scheduled, will therefore be replaced by special flights. The airline has set up a whole system to deal with this situation. According to a source within the company, RAM is offering its customers the possibility of converting their ticket purchased for a scheduled flight to a special flight, free of charge. If the customer has opted for a scheduled flight to a destination that no longer exists in the special flight programme, RAM offers two options in this case: the first is to change the flight destination to the nearest destination in the list of exceptional destinations; the second option offered by the national airline allows the customer to benefit from a “credit note” corresponding to the price of the ticket purchased, which can be used for a period not exceeding 18 months. It should be recalled that Royal Air Maroc has recently defined the terms of access to its flights for foreign nationals.

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

September 09, 2020 : The state of health emergency extended by one month

The Moroccan government decided Wednesday to extend by one month the state of health emergency decreed in mid-March to cope with the pandemic of new coronavirus, against the backdrop of an outbreak of cases of contamination, announced the Prime Minister on his Twitter account.

“Today, the government council approved a draft decree extending the validity of the state of health emergency throughout the country to fight against COVID-19,” said the brief message from the head of government, Saad-Eddine El Othmani.

This new extension will allow the adoption of specific emergency measures, such as the recent locking of the economic capital Casablanca, announced Sunday evening, with night curfew, strict control of movements and closure of all schools the day before the start of the school year.

“We risk being overwhelmed by the virus. We risk being overwhelmed by the virus,” Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb said on Sunday evening to explain the restrictions imposed in the metropolis of 3.3 million inhabitants.

With more than a thousand daily cases since early August, the rise in contamination in Morocco is fuelling concern and criticism from the local media on the management of the health crisis.

In its latest report, the kingdom counted a total of 75,721 cases of contamination, including 1,427 deaths and 57,239 recoveries.

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

September 08, 2020: Ait Taleb announces “substantial” logistical support for Casablanca

The Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb, announced Tuesday the mobilization of “substantial” logistical support for the city of Casablanca which is facing the resurgence of outbreaks of contamination with the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Casablanca, the beating heart of Morocco economically, socially and commercially, will benefit from a significant logistical support, the mobilization of human resources and the increase in the capacity of the resuscitation services,” said Mr. M. Ait Taleb in a statement to the press at the end of a technical meeting with the Minister of Industry, Trade, Green and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy and the Wali of the Casablanca-Settat region, Governor of the Casablanca Prefecture, Said Ahmidouch.

He continued: “This is a proactive management that will eventually allow us to cope with a possible resurgence of the epidemiological situation”.

Casablanca has recently experienced a significant increase in positive cases, which has made it necessary to move up a gear in the fight against COVID-19, stressed Mr. Ait Taleb, adding that the drastic measures put in place will make it possible to assess the situation over the next 14 days with a view to reversing this growing trend.

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

September 07, 2020: Schools remain closed in Sidi Yahia El Gharb to curb the spread of COVID-19

Faced with the increasing number of cases of contamination, the local authorities of Sidi Yahia El Gharb have ordered distance learning in all schools in the city. Face-to-face teaching will take place when the epidemiological situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic improves.

This decision taken by the provincial directorate of the Ministry of National Education in Sidi Slimane comes after the discovery of an outbreak of contamination in “Atlantic Free Zone”.

The start of the new school year, which starts on Monday, will therefore be done remotely, until the situation stabilizes, reports MAP, which emphasizes that more than 8,000 students are affected by this measure.

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

September 06, 2020: Morocco opens its borders to foreign visitors on presentation of a hotel reservation

. In an email sent this Sunday 6 September to the members of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), to which TelQuel has had access, President Chakib Alj announces that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, has responded favourably to the request of the CGEM to authorise access to Morocco for foreign nationals with a hotel reservation.

Thus, from this Sunday 6 September, “foreign nationals with a confirmed reservation for a hotel in Morocco will be able to enter Moroccan territory on presentation of this reservation”, the e-mail reads.

“These procedures obviously only concern foreign nationals not subject to the visa formality. It goes without saying that compliance with the health measures laid down by the authorities, in particular the obligation to carry out the required COVID-19 screening tests beforehand, remain in force,” the same source states.

This information follows an e-mail previously sent by the employers’ association announcing the simplification of the procedure for access of foreign professionals to Morocco. The latter will be able to visit Moroccan companies on simple invitation from the latter.

The invitations must be printed on the letterhead of the inviting company (including its identifiers, notably its ICE, its RC number and its address). They must also be signed and sealed by an authorized person of the company, and include the purpose of the visit, the full names and passport numbers of the visitors, their date of entry into Morocco, and their place of residence during their stay in Morocco.

Initially scheduled for September 10, this procedure is finally operational on Sunday 6 September.

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

September 06, 2020: Casablanca, curfew, access and schools closed from Monday 7 September at noon

The government has just taken a series of restrictive measures in Casablanca to stem the spread of the coronavirus. These measures come into force Monday, September 7 at noon.

These measures are:

  • Closure of all entrances/exits of the Casablanca prefecture, movements to and from the metropolis will be subject to a special authorisation issued by the local authorities.
  • Closure of all primary, secondary and higher schools and adoption of distance learning from tomorrow Monday.
  • Curfew from 22:00 to 05:00 in the morning, only security and public health personnel, as well as employees of vital and sensitive sectors, and freight carriers will be allowed to travel, provided they can show proof.
  • Closure of local markets every day at 3pm, of cafés and shops at 8pm and of restaurants at 9pm.

These measures will remain in force for 14 days during which the health situation will be monitored closely and continuously.

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