14 – 20 September, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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September 20, 2020: Back to school – Alternating classroom teaching to be applied in Marrakech

The Regional Academy of Education and Training of Marrakech-Safi said Saturday that the alternating classroom teaching will be generalized in all institutions of the Prefecture of Marrakech, from Monday, September 21.

Thus, schools in the urban areas Hay Hassani and Hay Mohammadi will join those where this type of education has already been adopted, said a press release from the AREF, published on its Facebook page.

This decision was taken on the basis of the orientations of the regional committee for the monitoring of the back-to-school season and in accordance with the recommendations of the local health monitoring committees.

The press release specifies that all the educational institutions concerned have been contacted and informed of these new measures, in order to inform families in turn and facilitate the normal course of study according to the alternating education model.

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

September 18, 2020: Casablanca- extension of the application of the measures taken on September 7, 2020

According to a government communiqué, it has been decided to extend the application of the measures taken on September 7 in the prefecture of Casablanca. The extension will be for an additional 14 days and will be effective as of Monday, September 20.

In a statement released Friday, the government calls on citizens to strictly respect the directives of public authorities and the necessary preventive measures, particularly physical distancing, hygiene rules and the obligation to wear a mask.
The decision was taken on the basis of the conclusions of the daily monitoring and regular evaluation operations carried out by the watch and monitoring committees of the Casablanca Prefecture, and following the recommendations of the Scientific and Technical Commission on the need to continue the necessary measures to deal with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

As a reminder, here are the measures already taken on September 7:

  • A curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Schools closure with the implementation of distance learning,
  • The reduction of the opening hours of restaurants forced to close at 9 p.m.,
  • Shops close at 8 p.m and local markets should close at 3 p.m.

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

September 18, 2020: A total of 1,121 active coronavirus clusters reported up to September 16 in Morocco

A total of 1,121 active coronavirus clusters have been registered until September 16 in Morocco, Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb said Thursday in a presentation to the Social Sectors Committee in the House of Representatives.

“The majority of the outbreaks registered in Morocco, which reached 1,121 up to September 16, are professional and family outbreaks,” he said, noting that the epidemiological situation in the Kingdom has skyrocketed in recent weeks, requiring urgent measures and high-level meetings to contain these outbreaks.

Mr. Ait Taleb recalled that until mid-June, less than 8,000 cases of coronavirus infection had been recorded, while the number of deaths had reached 200 and the number of critical cases had stabilized around 60, noting that the rebound in cases was recorded after Morocco moved to the third phase of deconfinement.

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

18 September, 2020: Tangier- The health situation is improving

After a long-term battle waged by the authorities against COVID-19, Tangier is experiencing a significant improvement in the epidemiological situation on its territory. Thus, it is one of the municipalities least affected by the pandemic at the national level. Out of a total of 180 cases of COVID-19 contamination recorded during the two days of September 14 and 15 in the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region, the city of the Tangier experienced during this 48-hour period some 44 infections, of which only 7 cases were recorded on Monday, September 14, on its prefectural territory.

According to Ministry of Health data on the evolution of the epidemiological situation from 7 to 13 September, the Northern region was able to position itself among the least affected areas of the pandemic, with a weekly incidence rate of 20 cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants. This new positioning of the northern region in general and Tangier in particular among the least affected areas is the result of great efforts made to keep the health situation there under control.

It should be noted that after the explosion of cases of contamination with the appearance of clusters in mid-July, the authorities managed to win the bet to bring Tangier out of the state of maximum alert thanks to several factors, including the arrival of the Royal Armed Forces to reinforce the elements of the Security and Auxiliary Forces to be able to contain the pandemic in the urban area. This allowed the city of the Tangier,, well before mid-August, to drop below 100 infections. While Tangier experienced peaks of contamination during the last ten days of July, including more than 420 cases recorded on the 27th of July.

This improvement in the situation has rekindled hope among the people of Tangier that their city will regain some of its dynamism thanks to the lifting of certain restrictions such as those relating to movement in and out of the city. Above all, keeping Tangier in Zone II among the municipalities with the highest number of cases of contamination has been a blow to various sectors, including tourism, which is the hardest hit by the pandemic.

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

September 18, 2020: Morocco/AstraZeneca Vaccine Procurement Agreement

The race for the COVID-19 vaccine continues. In order to provide Moroccans with a sufficient quantity of the treatment, the Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb, signed on Friday, September 18, 2020, a memorandum of understanding for the acquisition of vaccines against COVID-19 produced by R-Pharm Company, under license from the AstraZeneca Group.

Signed at the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform in videoconference mode between the two parties, this memorandum of understanding is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to secure the supply of sufficient quantities of vaccines.

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

September 17, 2020: The level of herd immunity in Morocco is not reassuring

The level of immunity to COVID-19 is calculated using serological tests to diagnose the presence of previous contamination with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, by checking for the possible presence of antibodies specific to this virus, which may have been developed.

In Morocco, the rate of herd immunity is 0.7%, according to the conclusion of a study commissioned by the Ministry of Health and conducted on a sample of 85,000 people.

This rate is considered low, since it is well below those recorded in other countries. By way of comparison, the same rate is 1.7% in Denmark, 2.7% in Holland, and 2.23% in Quebec.

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

September 17, 2020: Morocco reinforces the role of its local health care institutions

In a new circular on the management of SARS-CoV-2 infection cases, released Wednesday, the Ministry of Health has further simplified the pathway for people with or suspected of having a coronavirus infection.

“Given the current epidemiological situation, marked by a continuous increase in the number of cases, and for a better implementation of the updated protocol for the management of cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection, I ask you to put in place an organizational mechanism according to the attached model,” wrote Khalid Ait Taleb.

The new circular, consulted by Yabiladi, details an organizational mechanism for the management of cases of infection, focusing on “primary health care facilities” (ESSPs) as well as “COVID-19 referral structures” (SRP-COVID-19).

Thus, in addition to routine activities, the ESSPs must now perform several functions, such as identifying suspect cases, referring suspect cases to the referral structures identified for this purpose, and following up on cases treated at home according to the procedures in force.

They must also participate with the rapid intervention teams in the investigation of confirmed or probable cases in order to identify contacts and refer them to referral structures according to their state of health, and in the investigation of clusters in coordination with the authorities for the isolation of cases and contacts followed up at home.

In addition, the ESSPs will also ensure the operationalization of the monitoring system in schools and universities in their area and will participate in sero-surveillance using rapid tests.

Local referral structures for the identification and filtering of cases referred by ESSPs

The document also announces COVID-19 proximity reference structures (SRP-COVID-19), which will be identified taking into account the local epidemiological situation, population density, human resources and the technical platform of the establishment, accessibility and compliance with prevention measures. Their operation will be ensured by a team composed of at least a doctor, a nurse, a cleaning agent and a security agent.

These structures will be in charge of the identification and filtering of cases referred by the ESSPs, the private sector and other structures. They will also refer cases with risk factors and/or signs of severity to hospital management structures and will also take PCR samples if indicated and prescribe and dispense medication for cases eligible for home treatment after performing an ECG (electrocardiogram).

Khalid Ait Taleb promises to provide these SRP-COVID-19s with the “equipment necessary for their operation”, citing “PCR sampling kits” and “drugs for the management of COVID-19 cases”. “An ambulance equipped with an oxygen source for the transfer of cases showing serious signs of infection will be available “, the document adds.

This new process should thus ensure rapid management of cases affected by the coronavirus or those suspected of having an infection, it also aims to reduce the pressure on local hospitals.

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

September 16, 2020: More than 2,000 schools closed in Morocco.

A total of 2,250 schools are currently closed in Morocco because of the continuing risk of contamination with the new coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Education.

“There are currently about 950,000 students,” whose schools are closed, out of the 7 million or so who were expected to start school in September, the ministry spokeswoman said.

More than 2,000 new daily cases of infection have been recorded in recent days in Morocco, for a total of 90,324 people infected, including 1,648 deaths Wednesday night.

Various emergency measures (strengthening police controls, curfews, travel restrictions, etc. …) have been taken in the country, in line with the extensive powers granted to the Ministry of Interior under the state of a health emergency.

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

September 16, 2020: Fez-Meknes sets the example in the fight against COVID-19

The Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb, called, this Wednesday in Fez, to replicate the experience of the Fez-Meknes region in controlling the epidemiological situation to all regions of the Kingdom.

”It is a successful experience that has yielded very good results, using rapid diagnosis with serological tests, which shows the level of circulation of the virus at neighborhood levels and especially of a vulnerable population,” addedthe minister, in a statement to the press, on the sidelines of a visit to urban health centers that perform serological tests for COVID-19.

This approach, he said, allows for the management of positive cases as soon as possible, in order to eventually stop the circulation of the virus.

Ait Taleb did not fail to highlight the efforts made by local authorities and health professionals, as well as civil society, who mobilized at a time when the region was experiencing an upsurge of positive cases at COVID-19, due to the mobility of the population, especially during periods of festivities, including Aid el Kebir and the end of vacations.

Among the factors that have helped control the epidemiological situation in the region and especially in Fez, the Minister cited, among others, ”anticipation, monitoring of medical protocol and the proximity approach, which has enabled to accompany the population closely and detect cases early”.

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

September 15, 2020: Murder of Adnane Bouchouf – The debate on capital punishment resurfaces and divides public opinion

The murder preceded by the rape of little Adnane Bouchouf aroused general indignation and anger. Widely demanded, particularly on social networks, the application of the death penalty against the victim’s murderer became a central issue in the debate and a virtual petition was even launched.

Contacted by 2M.ma, Nouzha Skalli, spokesperson for the network of parliamentarians against the death penalty, said she fully shares the outrage and dismay of Moroccan citizens following this heinous crime. “I express all my solidarity and compassion and share the pain of the parents of little Adnane. Justice must be done, far from any pressure. It must take into account the social and psychological investigation,” she added.

Carried away by emotion, many Internet users have called for the execution of the alleged perpetrator of the crime by sharing en masse the photos of the alleged killer and rapist and by signing the virtual petition, which to date counts nearly half a million signatures.

In this sense, Nouzha Skalli believes that capital punishment has no deterrent effect. In her view, executing the perpetrator(s) of the crime in an atrocious manner, and will in no way alleviate the pain of the parents.

“The State’s reaction cannot be an act whose savagery would be comparable to the cruel crime that caused the death of little Adnane. Justice is not vengeance,” replied the spokeswoman of the network, who nevertheless calls for the most rigorous condemnation of the author of these barbaric acts.

In this vein, the coordinator of the Network calls for the implementation of a strategy ensuring the protection of children so that similar crimes do not happen again.

It should be noted that Morocco has not applied the death penalty since 1982 with the exception of the case of Commissioner Tabit in 1993.

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

September 15, 2020: Morocco passes the 90,000 contamination mark

The Ministry of Health has identified during the last 24 hours no less than 2,121 additional COVID-19 contaminations.

This new figure brings to 90,324 the total number of cases reported in the Kingdom since the emergence of the pandemic last March. The cumulative incidence rate is thus 248.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, and has reached 5.8 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 24 hours.

By region, Casablanca-Settat still has the highest number of infections recorded during the previous 24 hours, namely 924 cases. Ranking also unchanged for Rabat-Salé-Kénitra and Marrakech-Safi which occupy respectively the 2nd and 3rd position with 245 and 163 cases. Souss-Massa moves up to 4th place with 150 cases while Beni Mellal-Khenifra closes the Top 5 of the ranking with 143 new cases.

As for the ranking by cities, the Top 5 is composed of Casablanca (703 cases), Settat (118 cases), Marrakech (85 cases), Agadir-Ida Outanane (84 cases) and Salé (66 cases).

In addition, the number of recoveries to date has reached 71,047 with 2,077 additional cases declared fully recovered in the last 24 hours, representing a remission rate of 78%.

During the same period, 34 people have died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the total death toll to 1,648 cases, while the case-fatality rate remains stable at 1.8%.

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

September 14, 2020: 18 private laboratories authorized to perform the test at the national level.

For several weeks, private laboratories were no longer authorized to perform the COVID19 test for individuals, leaving this operation to public laboratories (Pasteur, CHU …) and some private laboratories for tests performed on behalf of companies and enterprises.

The test was also limited to people wishing to travel abroad.

Several citizens have therefore expressed their wish to be tested in complete freedom in case of apparent symptoms or in case of doubt. Thus, and in order to widen the screening but also to make the results faster, the Ministry of Health has unveiled in its circular n°044, a list of private laboratories authorized at the national level to carry out the COVID-19 test. These laboratories are required to return the test results within 24 hours after the oro/naso-pharyngeal and/or blood samples are taken.

There are therefore 18 private laboratories approved by the Khalid Ait Taleb department, including 8 in the Casablanca-Settat region (6 in Casablanca, 1 in El Jadida, and 1 in Mohammedia), 3 laboratories in the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region (2 in Tetouan and 1 in Tangier), 2 laboratories in the region of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra (1 in Rabat and 1 in Témara-Harhoura, 4 laboratories in the region of Fès-Meknès (3 in Fès and 1 in Meknès) and finally a private laboratory for the whole region of Souss located in Agadir.

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