October 05 – 11, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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October 11, 2020: Pending the completion of clinical trials, Morocco called to prepare in advance to ensure the success of the vaccination operation against COVID-19

The Minister of Health, Khalid Aït Taleb, stressed Friday in Rabat that his department was making every effort to ensure a sufficient stock of anti-COVID-19 vaccine , after the completion of clinical trials of the vaccine and its sale on the world market. Mr. Aït Taleb noted, in a statement to MAP, that the ministry is working to put in place a set of measures to generalize anti-Covid-19 vaccination in all regions of the Kingdom, until the effectiveness of one of the vaccines in the final stages of clinical trials is proven.

Morocco is called upon to prepare in advance and take all measures to ensure the success of the vaccination operation against the coronavirus, in accordance with the Royal High Guidelines on the adoption of a proactive strategy to fight against this epidemic, he stressed. In this regard, he said the Ministry of Health organised on Thursday a study day, in which several ministry officials took part, to assess the degree of preparedness of the Kingdom and its capacity to conduct a possible vaccination campaign against the coronavirus, and to develop strategic visions to ensure the success of this operation in all provinces and regions of the Kingdom, in case a vaccine, whose effectiveness has just been proven, is released on the world market.

Mr. Aït Taleb also indicated that this meeting was held in parallel with the launch by the ministry of the vaccination campaign against seasonal flu, which will avoid any confusion between flu cases and those of the coronavirus. In this context, Mr. Aït Taleb pointed out that this vaccination campaign against seasonal flu will concern all vulnerable categories and health professionals, and will enable the ministry to carefully diagnose and manage cases of COVID-19.

The Minister of Health also recalled the signature by his department of two partnership and cooperation agreements with the Chinese laboratory “Sinofarm”, aimed at involving the Kingdom in clinical trials of vaccination against the coronavirus and ensuring it has a sufficient stock of vaccines, in addition to a similar memorandum of understanding with the “AstraZeneca” group, through the Russian company “Ir-Farm”.
Regarding the capacity of the Moroccan health system to absorb the remarkable increase in the number of cases, the minister said that “the health infrastructure and human resources are suffering, like other countries, from exhaustion following the spread of the pandemic,” adding that the rotation system adopted by the ministry between executives working in the services of Covid-19 and other services helps to cope with this situation. He also stressed that critical cases in ICU remain the main source of concern for the ministry, noting however that these cases currently occupy only 24% of the national ICU capacity (2,800 beds), which is below the critical threshold of 65%.

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

October 10, 2020: Spread remains at a high level, 3,443 new cases Saturday 10 October

The spread of COVID-19 is settling into the 3,400 daily cases according to Friday and Saturday’s figures. The number of severe or critical cases is 445. 42 new deaths are reported.

3,443 new cases, half of which are in the Casablanca-Settat region. 42 new deaths, 445 severe or critical cases including 41 under intubation. The national number of ctive cases is 62.3 / 100,000 inhabitants, which exceeds the alert level.

25,131 tests have been carried out, of which 3,443 were positive, i.e. a positivity rate of 13.7%.

The total number of confirmed cases since 2 March is 149,841. The symbolic threshold of 150,000 will be officially exceeded on Sunday 11 October.

The official cumulative incidence is 412 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

There are 22,415 active cases. The number of hospitalised patients is close to saturating the available hospital beds. The number of recoveries is 1,832.

The number of deaths, 42, is close to the highest figures since the beginning of the epidemic. The official case-fatality rate still remains at 1.72%, a slight decrease. The number of severe or critical cases is the fourth highest since March 2: 445, of which 41 were intubated. 1,342 new cases were recorded in Casablanca alone and 1,733 in the Casablanca-Settat region. 186 cases are announced in Oujda after the 142 recorded the day before.

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

October 09, 2020: After the confinement, the hunt for migrants resumes

The period of reduced health containment in Morocco, in connection with the pandemic of the new coronavirus, has brought with it new socio-economic challenges to be met. These challenges are becoming more acute among people in vulnerable situations, and communities of immigrant are not spared. In addition to having faced economic difficulties linked to the non-resumption of their professional activities, they now face new obstacles to their inclusion in the social fabric of their cities of residence.

In addition to these issues, there are also security issues, rekindling tensions over the treatment of the migration issue in the southern provinces. Local representative of the international NGO Alarm Phone, Hassan Ammari reveals that the expulsions were often carried out from Dakhla airport “in collaboration between the Moroccan authorities and the Senegalese and Guinean embassies”, particularly between September and the beginning of October.

Laâyoune-Tarfaya, a new migration axis under surveillance

This trend was confirmed in Yabiladi by Omar Naji, vice-president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) in Nador. Indeed, he explains that “recent post-confinement developments in the migration issue are marked above all by the expulsion of migrants from Dakhla airport, where nationals from different African countries are deported, mainly to Guinea and Senegal”. “But before that, there were also many arrests and admissions to detention centres in Laâyoune, Dakhla, Tarfaya or Bir Guendouz, as AMDH-Nador relayed on the basis of videos filmed inside these spaces,” he said.

The activist explained this change in treatment by the fact that nationals from other African countries are “many seeking work opportunities in the southern regions, especially in the fishing sector. The concentration of migrants in this area has also increased because the southern coasts are now the main departure route to Spain, through the Canary Islands, as those in the north are increasingly under surveillance,” he said. Omar Naji also describes “a few departures still taking place from Nador or Al Hoceïma, but which have considerably decreased, in parallel with the increase in their number from Tarfaya or Laâyoune”.

These observations, according to the association, constitute “new facts” in the region, with the opening of Dakhla airport to deportations after arrest for attempted migration. These operations “no longer spare women and children” which is also “a worrying development”, explains Omar Naji.

For its part, Alarm Phone points out that expulsions have also been extended to “Tangier, Nador, Rabat, Casablanca and Al Hoceïma towards the Moroccan-Algerian border in Tiouli, in the Jerada region”. Hassan Ammari estimates the number of people expelled from the East at 157 between the beginning of July and the end of September. Omar Naji explains that “the authorities have put in place measures within the framework of the state of health emergency” but that “they have also used them to reinforce the security presence in the maritime areas, so as to better understand the migratory flows”.

“This reinforcement is part of a more global approach which is valid on all levels, in terms of public liberties in Morocco. We have noticed an increase in arbitrary arrests and trials since the introduction of the health measures, which are supposed to limit the spread of the pandemic of the new coronavirus,” Omar Naji said.

In detention centres in the south, “it was explained to the migrants that they had to stay there for their periods of sanitary confinement, but many of them exceeded the 14 days provided for in this framework, without being able to leave, until they were escorted back to the border”, relates Omar Naji.

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

October 09, 2020: Transport and Logistics – the way out of the COVID-19 crisis

A webinar was organised on Thursday by the British Chamber of Commerce under the theme “Transport and Logistics in Morocco: Impact of the Pandemic”.
Several leading public and private actors delivered their visions and testimonies. Despite job losses and company closures, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the weaknesses of the transport and logistics sector. The 2021 finance law and the recovery plan can provide an important basis for a new start. The signature of a new programme and the opening to new challenges are an indispensable pre-requisite for the emergence of a new era of transport and logistics in Morocco.

While the transport sector weighs 6% of the GDP and contributes 15% of the State’s tax revenues. Noureddine DIB, Director of Land Transport and Logistics at the Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water recalled the challenge of formalising the sector. An essential challenge “to move forward”. “This crisis has allowed us to better understand the importance of the informal sector”, said the ministerial official. The latter noted that the enterprises of the sector are fragile even before the pandemic, since they are microenterprises, 86% of which achieve a turnover of less than 3 million dirhams per year with a significant share of the informal.

“In view of the non-compliance of several employers with social regulations, there are many employees not declared to the CNSS, who have been unable to benefit from support measures introduced by the government in favour of the affected sectors,” he deplored.

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

October 08, 2020: State of health emergency extended until 10 November due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Government Council, meeting Thursday in Rabat, decided to extend the state of health emergency until 10 November next, as part of efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The Council adopted the draft decree N°2.20.631 extending the period of validity of the state of health emergency throughout the national territory to deal with COVID-19, said Saaid Amzazi, government spokesman, in a statement read at a press briefing at the end of the weekly meeting of the council convened under the chairmanship of Head of Government Saad Dine El Otmani.
Presented by the Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Interior, this draft decree, which extends the state of health emergency from Saturday, October 10 at 18:00 to Tuesday, November 10 at 18:00, informs on the concern of public authorities to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of measures taken against the spread of COVID-19, while ensuring the adequacy of measures taken at the level of each region, prefecture or province, with the evolution of the epidemic situation, he explained.

Under the draft decree, the government authority in charge of the Interior is empowered to take, in the light of the epidemic situation, all appropriate measures at the national level, Mr. Amzazi added. He said that the walis of the regions and the governors of prefectures and provinces are able to take all necessary executive measures at the level of a prefecture, province, commune or more, to maintain public health order.
Quoting the Head of Government in an allocation at the meeting, the spokesman said the extension of the state of health emergency is dictated by the “worrying” epidemic situation not only in the Kingdom but throughout the world, noting that humanity is still grappling with this epidemic and is affected in recent weeks by its rapid spread. Information from various countries, especially those in the neighbourhood, shows that there is a daily resurgence of cases.
Mr El Otmani also stressed the need to take collective precautionary measures in all regions where large clusters are emerging or where there is an increase according to the criteria set by the health authorities and where decisions are taken with the security and territorial authorities either by tightening measures or by banning certain activities at the level of neighbourhoods, municipalities and towns.

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

October 08, 2020: Coronavirus in Morocco-zoom on the most exposed people

Morocco has more than 4 million senior citizens. Beyond the problems of poverty in some cases, the risk of isolation and possible discrimination, they are also particularly vulnerable in terms of health.

Older people are at a greater risk of contracting a severe form of COVID-19. Beyond the problems of poverty in some cases, the risk of isolation and possible discrimination, older people are also particularly vulnerable in terms of health. As a result, they have paid the heaviest price in the crisis linked to the new coronavirus. This explains, in part, the very high mortality rate in the so-called old countries. Morocco, although it does not fall into this category, is not totally immune to this sad reality.

In fact, there is a risk group of more than 2.5 million Moroccans in the kingdom that needs to be monitored very closely, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Planning (HCP) in a note published on the occasion of the recent celebration of the International Day of Older Persons, marked by the COVID-19 health crisis. “The number of older persons currently stands at nearly 4.1 million. They are often characterized, in addition to age, by other types of frailties such as reduced immunity or the presence of chronic diseases, with a prevalence of over 63% among this category of the population, i.e. 2.57 million people”, emphasizes the HCP, adding that “for these reasons, they are among the population most at risk of developing a serious form of Covid-19 infection”.

Older people,Mostly forgotten during the COVID-19 crisis

And yet, it is clear that they are among the great forgotten of the pandemic. While the government has taken a series of measures to limit the spread of the virus and thus protect the health of the population, the fact is that people over 65 years of age have been hard hit, as confirmed by the same source. “In order to limit the spread of this virus, the State has taken various measures, including the introduction of sanitary containment. This has had a major impact on access to health services for the elderly”.

Thus, in detail, among the 38.2% of elderly people suffering from chronic diseases that required a medical examination during the confinement, 44% did not have access to these services. This percentage rises to 36.7% in the case of transient illnesses. In addition to financial difficulties and insufficient means of transport, the main reason for non-access to health care services is primarily the fear of contamination. To all these ills must be added the risks associated with psychological distress. For, “older people, who continue to follow rules similar to those recommended during the period of confinement, in particular respect for social distancing, will be threatened by the onset of psychological disorders such as anxiety, mood disorders and even confusion,” as reported by the HCP.

The risk of these manifestations increases with the duration of isolation, but also with other factors, such as housing conditions, loss of income, lack of information or boredom. According to the HCP survey, the main consequences of this situation for the elderly are anxiety (43.4%), fear (37.6%), obsessive behaviour (23.8%) and sleep disturbance (20.1%).

Men more exposed than women

Furthermore, while HCP has not studied the gender issue and COVID-19, it is established that men are more likely to be affected by the coronavirus than women, as confirmed by a study published in the journal Nature. According to this study, the immune response to the virus varies between men and women, and is weaker for men than for women. The authors of this work state that as men age, they lose their ability to stimulate leukocytes, T cells that play a major role in the body’s immunity. In women, on the other hand, and even those who are very old, the immune response was quite good, the researchers point out, explaining that this phenomenon is that women’s bodies are used to fighting against pathogens that can threaten a potential, such as an unborn child or a newborn baby.

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

October 06, 2020: Remittances from MREs to Morocco continue to rise

The volumes of money transfers made by MREs to the Kingdom have remained at significant levels in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

This evolution, unpredictable to say the least, defies logic and probability calculations. Remittances from MREs depend on two main structural factors, namely global economic growth and the evolution of the MRE population. However, in this case, these two factors cannot explain the resistance of remittances from the Moroccan diaspora to the crisis.

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

October 05, 2020: Covid-19 disrupts mental health services in most countries

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or interrupted essential mental health services in 93% of the world’s countries, according to a new survey released Monday in Geneva by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Conducted in advance of World Mental Health Day, celebrated on 10 October, the survey of 130 countries provides the first global data showing the devastating impact of COVID-19 on access to mental health services and highlights the urgent need for increased funding on this issue.

The WHO, which recalls the “chronic underfunding of mental health”, notes that before the pandemic countries were spending less than 2% of their national health budgets on mental health.

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

October 05, 2020: Courses will be broadcasted on national TV channels from this Monday

The courses scheduled for the school year 2020-2021 will be broadcast on national television channels from this Monday for the three educational streams, announced the Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Thus, the lessons relating to the 2020-2021 school curricula will be broadcast on TV channels Athaqafia, Tamazight and Laayoune, from Monday to Saturday for the three educational streams.

The Athaqafia channel will broadcast school lessons to students of qualifying secondary education, all streams, from 08H00 until midnight.

The Tamazight channel will broadcast courses dedicated to the levels of secondary college education between 08H00 and 12H30, while the courses programmed on the Laâyoune channel will be aimed at primary education students as well as pre-school courses and activities of school life and physical education (between 08H00 and 18H00).

The schedule of lessons and the detailed programme schedule of each channel are available on the official website of the Ministry www.men.gov.ma and on its official page on social networks.

These video courses are also accessible on the electronic platform “TelmidTICE”.

This operation takes place after the completion of the evaluation-diagnosis, revision and consolidation stage which took place from September 10 to October 3 with a view, in particular, to consecrating the pupils’ achievements during the previous school year.

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