10 – 16 November, 2020 | Morocco Press Review

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

16 November, 2020

Coronavirus has caused 82 deaths in 24 hours

The Ministry of Health has announced 82 deaths due to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 4,779 since the start of the pandemic last March.

The region of Greater Casablanca-Settat shows 24 deaths including 23 in Casablanca and 1 in Benslimane. In the Oriental region, there are 12 deaths with 4 in Oujda, 3 in Berkane, 2 in Guercif, 1 in Jerada, 1 in Taourit and 1 in Nador.

Rabat-Salé-Kénitra and Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima each have 9 dead. Rabat-Salé-Kénitra announces respectively 2 deaths in Kénitra, 2 deaths in Salé and 2 deaths in Skhirate-Témara against 1 death in Rabat, 1 in Khémisset and 1 other death in Sidi Slimane. As for Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, it displays 2 deaths in Chefchaouen, Al Hoceima and Larache against 1 death in Tangier-Assilah and Tetouan.

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

15 November, 2020

Morocco quadrupled the number of intensive care and resuscitation beds in 9 months.

Moroccans suffer from coronavirus and are naturally thirsty for numbers. On Friday 13 November, a webinar of the Moroccan Society of Medical Sciences, chaired by Dr. My Said Afif, allowed new ones to be discovered, during the intervention of Dr. Abdelilah Boutaleb, Secretary General of the Ministry of Health.

Dr Boutaleb was speaking on behalf of the Minister of Public Health.

In the Casablanca-Settat region (below), 78% of cases are asymptomatic, and can therefore be treated at home, or isolated in isolation structures such as the Casablanca Fair. 22% are therefore symptomatic.

Nationally, 33% are symptomatic. If we compare this figure with the 44,172 active cases as of November 11th (date of the data presented by Dr Boutaleb), this theoretically represents 14,577 cases to be treated in hospitals. This is more than the total public hospitals capacity of Morocco exposed by the same interlocutor. Even if we imagine that some of these symptomatic patients are treated in the private sector, or possibly in the mutual insurance sector, this means that hospital capacity is already saturated.

As of 11 November, Morocco had 14,428 beds dedicated to Covid in 81 hospitals (out of a total of 160) dedicated to Covid. It also had 4,239 beds in 6 field hospitals. And finally, 2,676 intensive care or resuscitation beds. The number of dedicated hospital beds has therefore doubled since the beginning of the epidemic, while the number of intensive care beds has quadrupled.

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

The authorities no longer rule out the Casablanca containment

As part of the vaccination operation against COVID-19, a communication campaign will be launched in the coming days. This campaign aims to raise public awareness and to prevent the spread of false information on social networks, said the Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb.

In a statement at the end of the meeting of the Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Programme for the Prevention and Control of Influenza and Severe Acute Respiratory Infections, the minister said that the hope for the eradication of this disease is based on the vaccine. Thus, it is urgent to be in the best sanitary arrangements before the start of the vaccination campaign.

Immunity is acquired after several weeks following the vaccination, the authority said, stressing the importance of strict compliance with protection measures. Moreover, the Moroccan population will thus be one of the first in the world to be vaccinated.

The meeting was also an opportunity to take stock of the epidemiological situation with overwhelmed health services, such as in the Casablanca region, where a 68% occupancy rate of intensive care units is observed, the minister said, stressing the need to take adequate measures to curb the increase in serious cases admitted to intensive care units. “If the situation does not change, confinement will be automatic and compulsory,” he added.

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

14 November, 2020

Calm situation in El Guerguarate in the aftermath of the Royal Army Forces’ life-saving operation

On Saturday afternoon, RAF elements put the finishing touches to the preparations for the reopening of the Guerguarate road, closed for three weeks by road cutters and other highway bandits of the “Polisario”.

This passage was completely secured by FAR elements through the establishment of a security cordon to ensure the flow of goods and people, in accordance with the High Instructions of HM King Mohammed VI, Supreme Chief and Chief of General Staff of the FAR.

Morocco, and after having observed a great restraint in the face of multiple provocations by “Polisario” militias in the buffer zone, launched Friday morning an operation to end this unacceptable blockage of civil and commercial traffic between Morocco and Mauritania.

“After having exercised the utmost restraint in the face of serious and unacceptable provocations by Polisario militias in the buffer zone of Guerguarate in the Moroccan Sahara, the Kingdom of Morocco had no choice but to assume its responsibilities to end the situation of blockade generated by these actions and restore free civil and commercial movement,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans living abroad said.

This operation was conducted according to clear rules of engagement prescribing to avoid any contact with civilians.

After this intervention by FAR elements, the “Polisario” militiamen voluntarily set fire to the tent camp they had erected and fled in Jeeps and trucks towards the East and South, under the eyes of MINURSO observers.

The armed militia of the “Polisario” opened fire on the Royal Armed Forces who returned fire, forcing the elements of the separatist gang to flee, without any human damage being recorded.

The “Polisario” militias had entered the buffer zone on 21 October, where they carried out acts of banditry, blocked the movement of people and goods on this road, and continuously harassed the military observers of the Minurso.

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

13 November, 2020

Royal Army Forces press release: “Security cordon” set up in Guerguerat

According to a statement by the General Staff of the Royal Armed Forces, his elements proceeded, during the night of Thursday to Friday to , “the establishment of a security cordon to secure the flow of goods and people through the buffer zone of Guerguarate, linking Morocco to Mauritania,” it is said.

“Following the blocking by about sixty people supervised by armed polisario militiamen of the road crossing the buffer zone of Guerguarate linking the Kingdom of Morocco and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and the ban on the right of passage, the Royal Armed Forces proceed to the establishment of a security cordon to secure the flow of goods and people through this axis,” said the FAR communication.

“This non-offensive operation, without any warlike intention, is being carried out according to clear rules of engagement, which require avoiding any contact with civilians and using weapons only in self-defence,” the statement concluded.

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

Communication campaign for vaccination against the new coronavirus

A communication campaign on the vaccination operation against COVID-19 will take place soon to inform public opinion, Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb said Friday in Rabat.

In a statement at the end of the meeting of the Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Programme for the Prevention and Control of Influenza and Severe Acute Respiratory Infections, which he chaired, Ait Taleb said that hope comes from the vaccine, while bearing in mind that it is necessary to be in the best health provisions before the start of the vaccination campaign.
The vaccination programme will take place during this time. It is therefore necessary to respect the gestures of distancing, especially since immunity after vaccination can only be acquired after several weeks, the minister explained. In addition, Ait Taleb said that this meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the epidemiological situation and to discuss the congestion of health services in the regions.

In that of Casablanca for example, there is saturation of the health system with an occupancy rate of 68% of the intensive care units, he noted, adding that it is necessary to take the necessary measures to limit the increase in serious cases admitted to the intensive care units.
The Committee also discussed the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, including the prerequisites for its success and the messages that need to be disseminated to citizens.

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

Preventive measures at Benguérir and Laâyoune against the spread of COVID-19

The prefecture of the province of Rehamna announced Thursday the adoption of a battery of preventive measures to stop the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in the city of Benguérir.

Thus, based on data on the evolution of the epidemiological situation marked by an upsurge of positive cases of COVID-19, the governor of the province, Aziz Bouignane issued a decision prohibiting any movement to and from the city of Benguerir, except for people with an exceptional travel permit issued by the competent local authorities.

These measures also include a ban on gatherings in gardens and public squares, and the closure of cafés, commercial premises and snack bars in the town from 9pm until 7am.

It was also decided to reduce the capacity of public transport by 50% and to ban the broadcasting of football matches in cafés and restaurants.

The execution of this decision, which will be in force for a period of 15 days starting on Wednesday, has been entrusted to the local authorities, the services of the National Security, the Royal Gendarmerie and the Auxiliary Forces.

For their part, the authorities of Laayoune announced Thursday new measures to strengthen the prevention against the spread of COVID-19, after the increase of cases of contamination during the last few days.

Thus, it was decided to strengthen controls at the entrance to the city of Laayoune, the ban on the broadcasting of football matches by all cafes in the city, the closure of gardens, public squares and playgrounds for children from 19H00 and the closure of shops and cafes from 21H00, said a statement of the wilaya of Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra.

The local authorities of Laayoune have also decided to rigorously control the respect of preventive measures (wearing of masks, physical distancing) and to apply the provisions of the law against offenders.

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

Sheikh Zaid Foundation offers a new home care service

The Sheikh Zaïd Foundation announces, in a press release, that it has launched a new home care service for patients who test positive for COVID-19.
This service, called “Allô Hôpital Fondation Cheikh Zaïd”, is currently available in Rabat and Casablanca and their regions and should be deployed throughout the Kingdom in the course of 2021.
The care provided consists of :
-A first medical check-up including a medical consultation with an electrocardiogram and biological assessment
-A second medical visit to initiate and explain the treatment to the patient (the prescription of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine will depend on the patient’s condition).
-A 3rd control visit including a consultation and an electrocardiogram.
“The doctor who follows the patient is available 24/7” informs the same source.  
The Sheikh Zaïd Foundation also offers home diagnosis of COVID-19, including PCR or PCR with antigenic test.
The rates are as follows:

  • PCR sampling: 500 DH
  • PCR pack and antigenic test: 1.000 DH
  • Home follow-up without biology and medicines: 4,000 DH
  • Home follow-up with biology and medication: 5,306 DH
    “In case of an emergency, regulation and evacuation are provided for, to the health structures according to availability” concludes the Foundation.

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

Moroccans will not be obliged to be vaccinated against COVID-19

A few days before the date chosen for the launch of a major coronavirus vaccination campaign, a document, widely relayed on social networks, announces the vote on a bill to impose the anti-COVID-19 vaccine with sanctions for those who oppose the vaccination of their fellow citizens.
In a denial taken up by the Map, the government has indicated that this document is a forgery. It urges the population to be cautious with these kinds of documents.
During a meeting at the Rabat palace, King Mohammed VI gave guidelines to the competent authorities to carry out a major vaccination campaign against the coronavirus in the coming days.

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

12 November, 2020

Royal Air Maroc: new announcements for travellers

In accordance with the instructions of the Moroccan authorities, Royal Air Maroc informs its customers that passengers travelling to Morocco will now be required to present a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 infection at check-in within 72 hours of the date of collection (and no longer from the date of the results). Children under 11 years of age are exempt from testing. The company therefore emphasizes that serological testing is no longer required.

Royal Air Maroc also reminds that as of November 11th, passengers on flights to France must also present at check-in a valid negative test result for COVID-19 infection less than 72 hours from the date of the test and not from the date of the results (children under the age of 11 are exempt from the test).

These same passengers must also present, before boarding, a certificate of international travel from abroad to France, including a detailed list of categories authorised to enter French territory, as well as a sworn declaration of absence of symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

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

Survey on the perception of COVID-19 by the Moroccan population

The COVID-19 epidemic began in Morocco in March 2020. After a period of containment from March to June 2020, activity gradually resumed in the country. This resumption of activity has since been accompanied by a rebound in the epidemic. The Policy Center for the New South conducted a survey to analyse the Moroccan population’s perception of this pandemic and the public policies that are trying to curb it.

This survey is based on data from 3 waves of polls conducted by IPSOS Morocco in June, July and September 2020. It is part of the research programme “Attitudes Towards COVID-19” carried out with a consortium of international academic partners and agencies: SciencesPo, Harvard Business School, Bocconi University, World Bank, McGill University, Toulouse School of Economics, Agence Française de Développement, Fondation pour l’innovation politique (Fondapol), Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique and University of Hanover.

This programme aims to compare data collected in 8 European countries, 7 African countries – including Morocco – as well as Brazil, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Moroccans welcomed the intervention of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to mobilise the country against the pandemic. They also welcomed the instructions given to the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) to support the health authorities with health logistics, as well as the guidance given to the government to support vulnerable populations and the national economy.

The 3 waves of sampling carried out in this survey provide indications for the period from June to September. The results of these 3 waves show that :

At the end of the confinement (month of June), Moroccans showed confidence in the management of the epidemic by the medical corps (civil and military) and the regalian institutions (Police and Gendarmerie) and in the measures implemented to deal with it.
Moreover, they still had relatively limited fears about the extent of the pandemic.
However, they were concerned about the economic impact of the pandemic and spoke of moments of psychological discomfort.
In the period that followed (June to September), doubts about the effectiveness of the measures taken to deal with the pandemic and, more broadly, concern about its economic impact grew. This development is being mirrored in other countries, as the resurgence of a pandemic persists and its health, economic, psychological and social effects are increasingly being felt.
However, beyond the evolution of the pandemic itself, the population seems to maintain confidence in the medical corps (civilian and military) and the regalian institutions.

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

11 November, 2020

Here is the number of students with COVID-19 in Morocco

A total of 4,000 students have been infected with the coronavirus out of a total of 8 million boys and girls attending the various levels of Moroccan education.

This figure was revealed by the Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Said Amzazi, who also stated that most of these contaminations have occurred outside the school setting. The contaminations in the ranks of primary school students represent 0.016% while the middle school students, they were 0.021% to be contaminated and 0.049% in the qualifying secondary education, detailed the minister.

Amzazi, who was speaking Tuesday during the discussion of the budget of his department at the committee of education, culture and communication of the House of Representatives, assured that the ministry has been, from the outset, firm on the health protocol to be followed within schools to limit the spread of the virus among students, teachers and educational staff. The schools played the game perfectly by strictly adhering to the rules of the health protocol, he added.

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

10 November, 2020

COVID-19 patients denounce abusive invoices in private clinics

After having been of great use to the state at the height of the coronavirus health crisis, some approved private clinics are now offering their services to the population. However, things are not going according to plan. These clinics practice free pricing, with no controls. Excessively, patients report abusive bills and mistreatment.

In videos shared on social networks in recent days, Moroccan men and women denounce, with their faces uncovered, the fraudulent practices of certain clinics that overcharge for services, reports Maroc Hebdo.

Some report that patients are being forced to pay huge bills even though they have not been isolated and have not followed any anti-covid treatment as required by the health protocol.

The examples are legion. The Akdital group, for example, applies a rather special pricing system. “While the rate for a stay in intensive care must not exceed MAD 2,500/day, this group requires patients to pay an advance of MAD 60,000 to 100,000 before any admission, either in cash or in the form of guarantee cheques,” Chouf TV reports.

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