21 -27 September, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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September 27, 2020: 2444 new cases, 659 in Casablanca on September 27, 2020

2,444 new cases of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) and 1,441 recoveries have been recorded in Morocco in the last 24 hours, the health ministry announced on Sunday.

The new assessment of confirmed cases brings to 117,685 the number of contaminations in the Kingdom since the first case reported on March 2 and to 95,591 that of fully recovered people, that is a cure rate of 81.2 percent, the ministry said in its daily bulletin of Covid-19.

The number of deaths has risen to 2,069, with 28 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours, a lethality rate of 1.8%, according to the same source.

These deaths are distributed between the regions of Casablanca-Settat (6), Marrakech-Safi (6), Rabat-Salé-Kénitra (5), l’Oriental (3), Drâa-Tafilalet (3), Souss-Massa (2), Béni Mellal-Khénifra (2) and Fès-Meknès (1).

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

26 September, 2020: Private doctors finally called upon to contribute

Finally, private doctors can finally participate in the screening, treatment and follow-up of patients with COVID-19.

Many health professionals called for the involvement of private sector doctors in the management of covid-19, in order to support public entities under pressure. The Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb, recently allowed private doctors to participate in the coronavirus health system.

Previously, a suspicious case had to go to a health centre that chooses whether or not to prescribe a PCR test. Private sector doctors can now screen and manage COVID-19 patients. This measure is aimed in particular at minimising delays in diagnosis and avoiding complications in infected people.

In addition, patients treated at home can be monitored by private doctors who, apart from the correct application of treatment, check that their condition does not deteriorate. These patients are monitored daily by a doctor via telephone calls and take a chloroquine treatment for seven days.

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

September 25, 2020: COVID-19 vaccine, two laboratories will work with Morocco

The Head of Government announced during the Council meeting on Thursday 24 September that the vaccine against COVID-19 will be available at the end of the clinical trials that started a few weeks ago. Morocco has signed agreements with a Chinese and a British-Swedish laboratory.

According to Saâdeddine El Othmani, these agreements have been possible thanks to strong international competition launched by the Kingdom in order to find an effective vaccine. The minister, added that the aim is to enable Moroccans to benefit from a vaccination as soon as the clinical trials are completed.

In a statement released at the end of the Council, Saaid Amzazi noted that the whole world is living under the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic which is resisting all strategies, with its trail of contamination and deaths. The vaccine remains the last hope to protect people from the danger posed by this virus.

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

24 September, 2020: 4 points to remember from the HCP survey on the impact of COVID-19 on refugees in Morocco

In a survey published on September 24th, carried out in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the High Commissioner for Planning provides key figures on the socio-economic and psychological impact of COVID-19 on refugees in Morocco.

The High Commissioner for Planning (HCP) carried out a survey published on Thursday 24 September, dedicated to the impact of COVID-19 on the socio-economic and psychological situation of refugees in Morocco. This survey was carried out in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), from 2 to 8 June, based on a sample of 600 households, “representative of the different categories of refugees, as defined by the UNHCR, according to the country of origin, city of residence, age, gender and educational level”.

The HCP survey reveals that Morocco has around 7,000 refugees.

It should first be clarified that according to the UNHCR, the term refugee means “any person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.

On the basis of these criteria, the HCP survey reveals that Morocco has around 7,000 refugees, most of whom are Syrian (48%), Yemeni, Central African, South Sudanese and Ivorian. They are divided into 2168 households, mainly located in Rabat and Casablanca.

“99.3% of the refugees have complied with sanitary containment measures”.

The survey conducted by the HCP and the UNHCR is based first of all on a rigorous profiling of the refugee populations in Morocco. It thus establishes that more than 50% of the refugees present on Moroccan territory arrived after 2015.

One in two heads of refugee households has a valid residence permit. The same figure applies to heads of households who are unmarried and have a higher level of education. About 20% of refugee heads of household are unemployed: 44.9% of them are Ivorian.

According to the HCP-HCR survey, 99.3% of refugees report having complied with health containment measures. Among them, 90.4% consider that they have complied fully and 8.9% partially with the containment measures. For information, only 79% of Moroccan households showed full compliance with the containment measures, and 21% showed partial compliance.

Only 3.9% of the refugees had no knowledge of the symptoms of COVID-19, 66.3% were aware of the daily numbers set up by the health authorities, and 42% of them turned to social networks to find out about the new provisions put in place by the government.

“47% of refugee households reported having experienced times when they did not have enough food”.

A second part of the report is devoted to the lifestyle and consumption patterns of refugees during sanitary confinement. Thus, 18.3% of them were not able to obtain an exceptional certificate of release, and 6.8% of those who did obtain it considered that they had had it “with difficulty”.

Also during the period of confinement, only one out of two refugees had access to medication. Of these, 37.2% had enough, and 40% did not have any for financial reasons. However, only 7% of refugee households did not have protective masks.

Four out of ten refugee households received food aid during the confinement: 60% of this aid came from associations and non-governmental organisations. In addition, 47% of refugee households reported experiencing times when they did not have enough food, and almost one in ten households (9.8%) resorted to begging.

“9 out of 10 heads of refugee households stopped working during confinement”.

During the confinement, almost 90% of the heads of refugee households out of ten had to stop working. Of these, 81.4% received no compensation. Of the 11.6% who were able to continue working, only 4.1% were able to keep their full-time job.

Of those who received compensation (6.1% received it from the State or their employer), 92.2% considered this aid insufficient to compensate for the loss of income caused by the stoppage of work.

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

23 September, 2020: the epidemiological evolution presented by Dr El Youbi

Dr. Mohamed El Youbi, Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control, a familiar face in the fight against COVID, was back on Tuesday 22 September for a webinar. An exciting webinar, organised on Tuesday 22 September by Becom Editions, Morocco’s leading medical and scientific publishing house, specialising in the editing and publication of medical journals and books.

The webinar audience had the opportunity to learn about the latest epidemiological data concerning COVID-19, in addition to the figures published daily and weekly by the Ministry of Public Health.
[All the graphs below are from Dr El Youbi’s presentation].

The epidemic curve in Morocco from 2 March to 21 September (weekly figures):

The first remarkable element is that of asymptomatic cases: out of the cumulative cases since March 2, the number of asymptomatic cases represents 75% of the cases (3 out of 4). A Moroccan study of 1,100 asymptomatic cases concluded that the evolution of these cases remains benign: the overwhelming majority remain asymptomatic.

At the time of admission or diagnosis, 74.9% are therefore asymptomatic, 14.1% of cases are benign, 9.6% moderate, 1% severe and 0.4% critical.

The rate of positivity is constantly increasing: this is the number of positive tests carried out. This is a sign of the “wide circulation of the virus,” adds Dr. El Youbi. Of the cumulative cases, the average positivity rate is less than 5%. On 21 September it was 9.47%. This means that out of 100 tests carried out, 9.47 are positive, which is very high, even if there is a targeting of those tested.

For moderate or mild cases, the average age is 46 years. For asymptomatic cases, the average age is 37 years. For severe or critical cases, the average age is 59 years. For deaths, the average age is 65. Age is clearly a risk factor. Severe or critical cases are more often male (double for deaths). Cancer is an important co-morbidity factor, …but diabetes was not statistically associated with severity and death in our series,” says Dr Youbi. Heart disease and high blood pressure are risk factors for severity.

What are the symptoms on admission? Here is the distribution of cases in Morocco:

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

22 September, 2020: the Pasteur Institute in Morocco is not out of stock

The Institut Pasteur du Maroc (IPM) has never stopped doing screening tests as announced by some media platforms. In a press release, the institute reassured the population of its willingness to support the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Some rumours leaked through the media claimed that the IPM was facing a shortage of laboratory supplies, useful in carrying out the screening test with PCR technology.

The press release explains that since the beginning of the pandemic, “the IPM, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s strategy to combat the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19), has been carrying out tests in the reference laboratory for emerging and dangerous viruses, since it performs about 2000 tests per day”. It was also pointed out that “the Ministry of Health provides the Institute with all the medical equipment and laboratory supplies on a permanent basis, regularly and without interruption”, the same source added.

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

22 September, 2020: tourism shows colossal losses

The losses of the tourist sector resulting from the crisis of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) have reached 18.3 billion dirhams (MMDH) at the end of the first seven months of 2020, that is to say a 44.1% drop in revenue, according to the Directorate of Studies and Financial Forecasts (DEPF).

For the month of July alone, the drop in these receipts stood at 90.1%, the DEPF indicated in its September economic note, adding that tourist arrivals and overnight stays in classified accommodation establishments fell, at the end of June 2020, by 63.5% and 59.1% respectively.

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

September 21, 2020: Significant drop in number of COVID-19 cases on Monday 21 September

Morocco has recorded, in the last 24 hours, 1,376 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, 3,426 recoveries and 25 deaths, according to data published on the portal “covidmaroc.ma”.

The new figures bring the total number of infections in the Kingdom since the start of the pandemic to 103,119 and the number of people who have recovered to 84,158, with a total of 1,855 deaths.

In detail, these new cases of contamination are listed as follows:

Casablanca-Settat: 495
Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceïma: 79
Marrakech-Safi: 86
Fez-Meknes : 75
Rabat-Salé-Kénitra : 296
Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra : 1
Drâa-Tafilalet : 75
Oriental: 74
Beni Mellal-Khenifra: 88
Guelmim-Oued Noun : 1
Souss-Massa : 84
Dakhla-Oued Ed Dahab: 22

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

21 September, 2020: COVID-19 raises the price of white meat

The COVID-19 has once again plunged the poultry sector into an unprecedented crisis. This crisis has pushed up the price of white meat in Morocco by up to 20 dirhams per kilogram.

According to the figures of the Interprofessional Federation of the Poultry Sector (FISA) reported by 2M, the poultry activity which in 2019 achieved a turnover of about 32.5 MMDH and generates some 530. The poultry sector, which generates some 530,000 direct and indirect jobs, has suffered a drastic drop in demand (- 40%) following the measures linked to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, notably the closure of restaurants and festival halls, the cancellation of events, the compulsory confinement of households at home and the closure of weekly souks.

Still according to the same source, losses are estimated at more than 4 MMDH during the last six months.

“The COVID-19 crisis has had an impact on the entire sector. The farmer sells his chickens at a price of 8 DH/kg at the farm for a cost price of 14 DH/kg, a loss of 6.0 DH/kg. Concerning the turkey sold at 9DH/kg, the cost is around 14.5DH/Kg. For the eggs, they were sold at 45 cents a piece against a cost price of 65 cents,” explains Youssef Alaoui, president of FISA.

To rectify the situation, FISA recommends reviewing the tax status of poultry farmers and their reclassification in the Moroccan agricultural sector, to strengthen controls on the obligation to supply the catering industry with poultry meat exclusively from industrial poultry slaughterhouses but also to reopen the weekly souks.

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