October 12 – 18, 2020 | Morocco Press Review

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October 18, 2020: More than 825 positive cases among nurses and health technicians since the beginning of the pandemic.

In Morocco, the number of coronavirus contamination (COVID-19) among nurses has reached 825 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, the movement of Moroccan nurses and health technicians (MITSM) said Saturday.

The MITSM, quoted by the news site alyaoum24.com, added that 200 cases of infection with the new coronavirus have been recorded among health professionals in the last two weeks.

The movement also pointed out that dozens of nurses and health technicians are in quarantine awaiting the results of COVID-19 tests.

It also denounced the “policy of indifference of the government and the Ministry of Health” towards health professionals by avoiding revealing the number of contamination among nurses and technicians.

According to the movement, coronavirus infections affect nurses as well as midwives and other health workers in different cities.

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

October 17, 2020: Restriction of movement to and from the town of Fqih Ben Salah

The local authorities of the province of Fqih Ben Salah decided on 16 October to prohibit all travel to and from the city, except for people with an exceptional travel certificate issued by the competent authorities, reports a dispatch from the MAP press agency.

Gatherings are also prohibited. These decisions were taken after the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. This Friday, 61 new cases were registered, in addition to one death.

Sports halls, playgrounds, local stadiums and public parks will be closed, in addition to a reduction in public transport capacity to 50% and strict control of measures relating to the wearing of protective masks and physical distancing.

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

October 17, 2020: the printing of a health card is now compulsory in Moroccan airports

The printing of the health travel form is now compulsory at all airports in the kingdom. Passengers travelling to Morocco will therefore have to print it and fill it in in order to present it once on arrival.
The information is reported by the airline company Royal Air Maroc on its Twitter account. “Royal Air Maroc informs you that the printing of the health sheet is now mandatory for all arrivals at Moroccan airports,” the company writes.
In addition to personal and flight information, the passenger will have to answer questions about Coronavirus on this sheet (available here).
Indeed, the passenger will have to inform if he or she has presented “an acute respiratory infection with fever above 38°C”, if he or she has been “in contact with a person affected or suspected of being affected by the coronavirus” and if he or she has worked or stayed in a hospital or laboratory in which a case of coronavirus infection has been confirmed”.
In addition, any person travelling to Morocco must have done a PCR type test 72 hours before departure.

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

October 17, 2020: 60 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours

Morocco now records 170911 confirmed cases of contamination with the new coronavirus, including 2878 deaths and 141381 recoveries.
3763 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Morocco in the last 24 hours, bringing to 170911 the total number of cases of contamination in the Kingdom until Saturday at 18:00, announced the Ministry of Health.
60 new deaths have been recorded during the last 24 hours, bringing to 2878 the total number of deaths.
In addition, 2392 new recoveries have been recorded, bringing the total number of people declared cured to 141381, the same source said.

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

October 16, 2020: The mayor of Oujda and seven other members of the city council test positive for COVID-19

The president of the Oujda municipal council, Omar Hjira, and 7 other members tested positive for the new coronavirus.
According to the Arabic-language media Kifach, 34 of the 65 members of the council underwent laboratory tests for the disease on Wednesday, after the virus was confirmed in an employee working as an engineer in the commune.
On Thursday, the capital of Oriental recorded a record number of infections with the new coronavirus, with tests conducted between Wednesday and Thursday confirming 306 positive cases.
Oujda town hall is not the only town council where cases of the coronavirus have been detected. In August, the president of the communal council of Ouarzazate, Abderrahman Drissi and his deputy Said Essadeq, tested positive for the virus. In July, the mayor of Marrakech and several of his deputies, including presidents of the city’s ochre-coloured districts, tested positive for COVID-19.

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

October 16, 2020: Friday prayer resumes, strict measures in mosques

After several months of suspension, the Friday prayer in mosques has been authorized by the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs from this Friday, October 16.
Thousands of worshippers are expected to attend the prayer where all health prevention measures will be applied to stem the risk of spreading COVID-19.
At the same time, the ministry announced that the Friday sermon will last only 15 minutes as part of the prevention measures. A circular, a copy of which is available on the Info Site, has been sent to the regional delegates to ensure that the duration of the preaching and the health precautionary measures are respected, in accordance with the protocol put in place.
The number of open mosques has been increased to 10,000 and the Friday prayer as well as the five prayers will be performed there from Friday 28 Safar 1442 H corresponding to October 16, 2020, announced the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs.
The ministry said in a statement that it will ensure the success of this operation and ensure its follow-up, in coordination with the competent authorities.
The same health precautions, taken in the mosques already open for the five prayers, will be taken into account for the Friday prayer, the statement said, adding that the evolution of the epidemic situation at the national and local levels will also be taken into account.

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

October 15, 2020 : Morocco would end the year with 400,000 cumulative cases by the end of 2020 (HCP)

The Office of the High Commissioner for Planning has developed projections of the declared positive cases of COVID-19 in Morocco towards the end of 2020. By 31 December 2020, Morocco would have between a minimum of 300,000 and a maximum of 500,000 registered cases.

The number of cases in Morocco is expected to continue to increase, while fluctuating within a range bounded by a maximum (Hi 95) of cases that can be registered and a minimum (Lo 95) taking into account current prevention measures. The bounds [Lo 95, Hi 95] represent the field of uncertainty of the trend estimate made. In epidemiology, the uncertainty in predicting the number of cases of infection becomes greater when the time horizon is large, implying wider estimation intervals.

Table 1 summarises the forecasts of the number of cumulative cases at the end of 2020, based on data as at 20 September. The outlook for the evolution of new infections reveals a “worrying” epidemic situation, with the possibility of reproduction of a stronger wave of contamination in the event of a lifting of the partial containment measures currently applied in certain areas.

The case-fatality rate is expected to continue at a rate of 1.9% depending on vulnerability trends, indicating a difficult epidemic situation that is still “bearable” by the health system.
At the regional level, forecasts based on current trends identify four groups of developments:

Group 1 (high risk): Greater Casablanca-Settat.

A further increase in the number of contaminated cases is expected, with the possibility of exceeding 2,000 cases per day by the end of December. This may be a signal of a critical situation in the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 virus which may require strict measures.

Group 2 (unstable situation): Rabat-Kénitra, Marrakech-Safi.

As regards the Rabat-Kenitra region, there is a lower rate of contamination compared to the Casablanca-Settat region, with a wider fluctuation range: the number of cumulative cases could reach 59,037 by the end of December. At the level of the Marrakech-Safi region, a continuation of the volatile evolution of the new daily cases recorded is expected. In this group, the situation seems unstable as of 20 September for both regions, a wave of contaminations may be triggered at any time, imposing a maintenance of partial containment measures.

Group 3: Fez-Meknes, Tangier-Tetouan

The evolution of the number of cases infected daily is stable, with a possibility of “extinction” if self-protection measures and respect for barrier gestures are maintained. The risk of the situation worsening would be more related to citizens’ laxity in complying with prevention measures. The number of contaminations would reach 20,672 at the end of December in the Fès-Meknès region.

Group 4: Other regions

The number of cases recorded up to 20 September can be controlled if preventive measures are taken into account, but the appearance of new clusters could generate a wave of contamination, particularly if self-protection measures are not respected. Below is a summary of the results of the projections made:

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

October 14, 2020: Mohammed Benchaâboun presents the priorities set by H.M. the King to counter the COVID pandemic-19

The priorities of the economic recovery plan in Morocco and the role that the Mohammed VI Fund for Investment will play in particular were presented by the Minister of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform, Mohamed Benchaâboun, during a virtual conference held Wednesday, on the occasion of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of vulnerabilities in Morocco and has forced the government to review the priorities of the moment, Benchaâboun said, explaining that the government has focused its efforts on three axes recently stated by H.M. King Mohammed VI in a speech at the opening of Parliament.

These are, the minister noted during this event dedicated to “Morocco’s Experience in response to the COVID-19 crisis”, three priorities, the first of which is of a social nature. Mr Benchaâboun cited, in this regard, the need to “strengthen social safety nets at a sufficiently high speed so that all Moroccans can have health insurance, a pension scheme and a family allowance according to the number of children and the size of each family”. “This programme will start on 1 January next year and Morocco has made it a top priority”, he stressed, noting that it is “an extraordinary challenge” because 22 million Moroccans will have to be integrated into the Compulsory Health Insurance (AMO) in two years.
The second axis, continued the minister, relates to the economic revival which is necessary “because of the disturbances which have affected a certain number of sectors”, notably those linked to the external environment, such as tourism. “We have tried to ensure that an economic recovery plan is prioritised and that it is original in the way it should be conducted,” Benchaâboun said, noting that an overall envelope of 11% of GDP has been mobilised to revive the economy. “This 11% is distributed as follows: 7% which will be dedicated to everything related to the guarantees granted by the State to the economy, and 4% of GDP which is devoted to a strategic investment fund, namely the Mohammed VI Investment Fund,” he said.

Mr Benchaâboun added that one third of the Fund will be covered by budgetary allocations, and two thirds through donors and partners of the Kingdom. “This fund will intervene quickly to inject into the economy the necessary funds to boost investment and will intervene through all conventional financing mechanisms, including private equity, in addition to a component of investment in infrastructure through public-private partnerships,” he noted.
As for the third priority of the Kingdom, it concerns the reform of the public sector, said Mr. Benchaâboun, explaining that it is a question of “restructuring everything that revolves around public institutions, and creating a national agency of strategic participations of the State”. All this, he noted, will be done “while keeping a watchful eye on the macroeconomic balance, whether in terms of deficit or debt”.

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

October 13, 2020: Johnson & Johnson suspends clinical trials of its vaccine

Johnson & Johnson has announced that it has halted its trials of a vaccine against COVID-19 due to an “unexplained illness” affecting a clinical trial participant.
“We are committed to providing transparent updates throughout the clinical development process of our candidate vaccine,” the U.S. pharmaceutical company said in its press release.
“Adverse events – diseases, accidents, etc. – are not always reported. – We are committed to providing transparent updates throughout the clinical development process of our vaccine candidate,” the US pharmaceutical company said in its press release.

The company did not provide further details about “unexplained illness”, but one of the steps in clinical trials is to find out whether vaccines cause dangerous side effects. Trials are stopped when side effects occur while doctors check whether the illness can be linked to the vaccine or whether it is a coincidence.

“Based on our strong commitment to safety, all clinical studies conducted by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen pharmaceutical companies have predefined guidelines. These ensure that our studies can be stopped in the event of an unexpected serious adverse event that could be related to a vaccine or drug under study, so that there can be a careful review of all medical information before a decision is made to restart the study,” the company explained.

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

October 12, 2020: Inquiry launched into the death of six people due to lack of oxygen in El Jadida

The six deaths recorded in El Jadida in a single day were denounced by various associations. And despite the deployment of a commission of enquiry, the circumstances of these tragic deaths remain a mystery.

On 7 October alone, six people were admitted to the Mohammed V Provincial Hospital in El Jadida for intensive care and died at the same time. The circumstances of these tragic deaths were immediately denounced by human rights associations in the region, pointing to a failure in the resuscitation services, reports the local website El Jadida 24.
According to local sources, the failure was in the supply of oxygen to patients. This led to the deployment of an inspection commission of the Ministry of Health, reports the daily Al Ahdath Al Maghribia in its October 12 edition.

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