March 29 – April 07, 2021 | Press Review Morocco

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Photo: John S. on Flickr

April 07, 2021

China will provide Morocco with 10 million doses of vaccines in April/May

During a videoconference meeting on Wednesday, April 7, between Habib El Malki, President of the House of Representatives and Li Zhanshu, President of the National People’s Congress of China, the latter indicated that his country “will provide the Kingdom with about 10 million doses of vaccines during the months of April and May of this year,” according to a press release issued at the end of the exchange.

During the meeting, the Chinese official praised the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI and the remarkable results achieved by Morocco in the fight against the pandemic.

The two parties welcomed the new dynamic that the Moroccan-Chinese cooperation path has known, since the Sovereign’s visit to China in 2016, and the signing of a strategic partnership agreement between the two countries, “where bilateral cooperation has experienced a qualitative leap in economic, commercial and other areas.

To date, Morocco has received 9.5 million doses of anti-covid vaccines: 7 million doses from the British laboratory AstraZeneca and 2.5 million doses from the Chinese laboratory SinoPharm, out of 40 million ordered by the Kingdom.

It should be recalled that HM King Mohammed VI personally launched the first phase of the national vaccination campaign against Covid-19 on 28 January 2021.

The Kingdom aims to immunize more than 30 million inhabitants (66 million doses of vaccine ordered) free of charge, with a view to reducing and then eliminating cases of contamination and deaths due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

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

Ramadan in Morocco: curfew from 8pm

In order to face the spread of the COVID-19, the government has decided, on Wednesday 7 April 2021, to introduce a health curfew from 8pm to 6am during the whole Ramadan period.

Similarly, traffic will be prohibited from 8pm until 6am, except for citizens whose professional activity requires travel during the night.

The change of curfew from 21:00 to 20:00 has been introduced to avoid public gatherings, especially in cafes and mosques during the month of Ramadan.

The government has also decided to maintain the previously agreed restrictions currently in force.

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

Spain has reinforced the Moroccan police with more than 35 million euros

Over the past two years, Spain has provided the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior with vehicles to effectively carry out border control missions. In all, Spain has injected more than 35 million euros into the acquisition of all-terrain vehicles, trucks and quads for the Moroccan security forces.
Spain has just signed a contract with the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), for the supply of 90 quads worth 1.4 million euros, all taxes included, to Morocco. This support is part of the project “Support for integrated border and migration management in Morocco (EUTF-NOA-MA-05)”, which includes the delivery of 30 automatic all-terrain quads and 60 manual transmission quads to Tangiers, as well as training in the maintenance of these machines, reports the specialised website
Prior to this contract, Spain had signed in December with Toyota Morocco another contract worth 8.6 million euros for the supply of 130 Toyota Land Cruisers to be delivered to Rabat as part of the same project. The Moroccan company won the contract in a tender against four Spanish companies.
In 2019, Spain had also planned to supply nearly 400 all-terrain vehicles worth a total of 26 million euros to Morocco. But in addition, it had launched a tender for the acquisition of 98 portable long-range thermal imaging cameras worth 6.5 million, destined for the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior as part of the same project, which aims to improve operational skills in border surveillance (land and sea), and to strengthen cross-border cooperation in the fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking.

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

April 05, 2021

The Republic of Senegal opens a consulate general in Dakhla

The Republic of Senegal opened, on Monday, a general consulate in Dakhla, the 10th diplomatic representation inaugurated in this city for a little over a year.

The inauguration ceremony was chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans living abroad, Nasser Bourita and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad, Aïssata Tall Sall.

Since the beginning of last year, the city of Dakhla has experienced a strong diplomatic dynamic with the inauguration of consulates in Gambia, Guinea, the Republic of Djibouti, the Republic of Liberia, Burkina Faso, the Republic of Guinea Bissau, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in addition to the Republic of Haiti.

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

UK variant detected in 7 regions

The British variant of SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) has been detected in 7 regions of Morocco, according to the Ministry of Health. “The SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) genomic surveillance system set up by the Ministry of Health has allowed the detection and confirmation of the circulation of the British variant and its spread in 7 regions of the Kingdom,” the ministry announced in a statement.

“Indeed, the sequencing of the complete genome has allowed the confirmation of the presence of signature mutations of the British variant,” the department said, adding that to date, “89 strains B.1.1.7 (British variant) have been assigned, and no other variant of concern (VOC) has been confirmed in Morocco.

The ministry also stresses that, in addition to the specific mutations of the detected variants, new mutations are regularly detected but without clinical or epidemiological impact, noting that this viral dynamic is observed throughout the world. “Since the beginning of the SARS-CoV2 epidemic, several thousand variants have been circulating and others will emerge,” the department adds, specifying that the appearance of these variants over time is a natural process in the history of viruses, linked to the way in which these microorganisms replicate.

In December 2020, it was recalled, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 (known as lineage 20B/501Y.V1, VOC 202012/01 or B.1.1.7) emerged in the UK with a high number of mutations. “This variant has since been detected in 130 countries including Morocco,” the ministry said, adding that its transmissibility is 30-70% higher than previously circulating SARS-CoV-2 strains worldwide.

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

Discovery of a 100% Moroccan variant, Prof. Ibrahim remains optimistic

A new strain of the coronavirus has appeared in southern Morocco, and more precisely in the city of Ouarzazate. According to Azzedine Ibrahimi, director of the biotechnology laboratory at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Rabat, revealed that this new strain can be classified as a 100% Moroccan genome strain, pending the determination of its characteristic.

Indeed, Prof. Ibrahimi, also a member of the COVID-19 Scientific Committee, indicated that the committee’s research work has proven the existence of 28 new variants in Morocco, in particular, the Nigerian variant carrying the 484 mutation, without forgetting the English variant that appeared in January. The South African variant has not yet emerged in Morocco, says the scientist.

That said, Prof. Ibrahimi remains optimistic. He explained in a long post on his Facebook page that the epidemiological situation in Morocco is almost stable for several reasons. The first one is the positive effects of the vaccination of a large category vulnerable to the development of critical cases, the pyramid of the Moroccan population which remains young, as well as the percentage of Moroccans who have been infected by the virus which is close to 30%. “This leads to a feeling of security among the public as long as they see that the number of deaths is decreasing and that the health system supports the number of positive cases of the virus,” said the specialist.

However, this member of the scientific committee stressed that “the genomic state of the viral strains present in Morocco calls for great caution”, noting that “all the danger comes from the propagation of new mutated variants”.

Prof. Azzedine Ibrahimi shared via his Facebook post some of the results of a research being published, using the genome sequencing tool.

“We compared the spread of COVID-19 strains in Morocco and the measures taken to deal with the virus,” he said. He says, noting that “the analysis of the genome of the first British strain, which entered Morocco in January, has allowed us to track its spread.

“We compared the spread of COVID-19 strains in Morocco and the measures taken to deal with the virus,” he said. He says, noting that “the genome analysis of the first British strain, which entered Morocco in January, has allowed us to track its spread. And despite the difficulty in determining the exact percentage of British strains, all indicators suggest that it has exceeded the 15% threshold,” said the scientist.

He believes that this strain will be prevalent in Morocco within a few weeks, noting that “the most dangerous thing is its rapid spread and infection, which may lead to further pressure on our health system, as we continue to vaccinate under the pressure of the epidemic mutation.

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

April 04, 2021

Rabat: Ban on all gatherings in public spaces

In a press release, the wilaya of the region of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra indicates that publications circulating on social networks and attributed to the “National Coordination of Teachers Compelled to Contractualize”, have called for the organization of forms of demonstrations on the public highway accompanied by a national rally in the city of Rabat, Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 April 2021.

As part of the preventive measures taken by the Government to contain the spread of COVID-19, particularly following the appearance of new strains, and taking into consideration the extension of the state of health emergency to April 10, 2021, the local authorities announce the prohibition of any gathering or gathering in public spaces to avoid any violation of the provisions of the state of health emergency, adds the same source.

The authorities of the wilaya of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra would like to remind all those who call for this kind of demonstrations of the need to respect the banning decision, holding them responsible for anything that might result from acts contravening this decision, expressing their total willingness to confront all practices that violate the laws and rules in force, the statement said.

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

April 03, 2021

Morocco: Legalisation and certified signature no longer required

A few days ago, the Department of Administration Reform published its capsules to popularise the provisions of law 55.19 on the simplification of administrative procedures and formalities. “Whether you are a Moroccan, a foreigner residing inside or outside the kingdom or an investor, you are called upon to interact with the communes, territorial administrations or public service establishments. Generally, this operation takes an enormous amount of time, effort and paperwork,” the video acknowledges.

“It is in this sense that Law 55.19 on the simplification of administrative procedures and formalities has instituted a new relationship and strengthened trust between the administration and the citizen.

Thus, the video explains that according to the new law, “no administration has the right to require more than one copy of a document making up an application”. Moreover, “legalisation is no longer compulsory”, “no administration has the right to demand authenticity of the signature or true copies” or “a publicly available document that does not concern you personally, such as a copy published publicly in “bulletin officiel”, it continues.

The same source adds that the administration may require a “declaration on honour” instead of certain documents or information, while the law obliges the administration to provide a receipt for the submission of the file and to respond within a time limit set by the administration itself and published in the national portal of administrative procedures. “Depending on the request, the administration may respond immediately or within a period not exceeding 60 days, depending on the time required to process the request,” it says.

Each citizen can contest any delay or refusal, while in the event of a missing document, the administration is required to inform the interested party and the processing time starts from the date on which the file is completed.

“Since its publication, each administration has been working to document, unify and simplify its administrative procedures in accordance with this law,” it adds. These procedures will be published in the dedicated portal.

Law 55.19 provides for the formalisation of administrative acts by the administrations concerned, through their identification, documentation, transcription and publication, within six months of the date of entry into force of the law, which took place on 28 September.

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

April 02, 2021

AstraZeneca vaccine: 30 cases of blood clots reported in the UK out of more than 18 million doses administered

The UK medicines regulator has announced that it has identified 30 cases of blood clots associated with AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine out of more than 18 million doses administered in the UK, stressing that the risk remains “very low”.

“Out of 18.1 million doses administered up to and including 24 March, we have received 22 reports of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 8 reports of other thrombosis associated with platelet deficiency,” the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in an online notice.

The agency also recommended continued deployment of the vaccine, noting that “its benefits in preventing the virus continue to outweigh its risks”.

The MHRA report states that “these cases are being investigated very carefully to better understand whether or not they may be causally related to vaccination”, commented Professor Adam Finn, member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

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

Health crisis: Moroccan government to maintain aid until end of June

The Moroccan government will extend the granting of aid and support measures to the sectors concerned until the end of June. This was decided by the Economic Watch Committee (CVE) which held its 12th working meeting on Friday, April 2, 2021, in videoconference mode.

Given the persistence of the negative effects of the Covid-19 health crisis on certain vulnerable sectors of activity, the CVE decided to extend several support measures in their favour until 30 June 2021.

These include compensation, family allowances and the AMO for employees in the tourism sector, restaurants, caterers and event service providers, amusement parks and games, crèches and private sports halls, as well as the press sector and cultural and creative industries.

All of these measures, which affect around 102,000 employees, are financed by the special fund for the management of the Coronavirus pandemic “La COVID-19”.

The CVE also noted that some export-oriented sectors, particularly the automotive and textile-clothing industries, are showing signs of slowing down, in connection with the situation in European markets severely affected by the new wave of the pandemic.

In addition, and taking into account the worrying evolution of the sanitary situation in Morocco’s main European partners and the restrictions that have been put in place to contain its aggravation, the CVE will continue to closely monitor the evolution of the situation, particularly that of the economic sectors most affected, in consultation with the ministerial departments concerned.

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

April 01, 2021

No, the vaccination certificate does not allow intercity travel

The vaccination certificate would henceforth be sufficient to travel within the kingdom. This is at least what some media outlets claim, even going so far as to announce that the measure is already being applied in Rabat. A member of the vaccination committee, who would have made this proposal according to the same sources, denies categorically.

The authorisation to travel between cities would no longer be compulsory for people with a vaccination certificate, according to some media. The measure would have been proposed by the scientific and technical committee of vaccination and would already be applied in the Wilaya of Rabat.

Contacted by us, Moulay Said Afif, member of the Scientific and Technical Committee on Vaccination, categorically denies that this is a proposal made by the committee.

“How could we propose a discriminatory measure, and it must be stressed, even before the campaign has achieved its first objectives? For, according to the doctor, “this measure would amount to favouritism between citizens”.

An official source in the Ministry of Health is categorical: “it is only a rumour”. “The Committee has not spoken about it and the subject has not been raised by the ministry in charge,” our source confirmed.

It should be noted that citizens who have received the two injections of the COVID-19 vaccine can download their vaccination certificate on the website.

Although its use has not yet been revealed by the competent authorities, the Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb, stated last November that “once vaccinated, Moroccan citizens wishing to travel outside Morocco will have to present proof of their vaccination”, without providing any further details on the need to have it on Moroccan soil.

To date, 4,320,349 people have already received the vaccine in Morocco and 3,674,251 people have already received their second dose.

However, “this is not the time to relax,” Dr Afifi stressed, noting that although “citizens may be immune to Covid, they can still infect another person, even if only by touching a surface where the virus can be deposited.

Moreover, the epidemiological situation seems to have deteriorated in recent days, says our interlocutor. “We have seen an increase in the number of cases in intensive care and we should not forget what is currently happening in Dakhla where the British variant has infected more than forty people”, continues the member of the vaccination committee.

Indeed, 9 cases of infection by the British strain have been detected in the ENCG of Dakhla, in addition to about forty cases of contacts of the family and relatives of these students. The city was placed under quarantine for three days on Monday 29 March.

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

English variant COVID-19: 73 confirmed cases in Morocco

The epidemiological situation in the country was examined this morning in the Council of Government in the light of an increase in the number of cases of the new English variant and of critical cases.

The Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb, informed the members of the Government Council of the most important developments in the situation over the last two weeks.

He pointed out that the number of contaminations has accelerated in the Casablanca-Settat region, where the number of cases now represents 50% of the total recorded in the Kingdom. This while the rate of positivity has reached 12% in this region against an average of 4.2% at national level.

In addition, Ait Taleb stated that the number of new circulating strains of the British variant in Morocco has risen to 73 cases.

Faced with this worrying situation, the government explains that it will continue its consultations with the National Scientific Committee and with all the sectors concerned in order to take the necessary and appropriate measures, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. It also indicates that it will announce these measures in due course, stating that all the information currently circulating is unfounded.

On this occasion, the government renews its call to all citizens to fully adhere to the precautionary measures in place to avoid a worsening of the epidemiological situation.

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

March 31, 2021

COVID-19: British variant detected in Dakhla

Nearly 40 cases of the British variant of Covid-19 have been detected in Dakhla. The figure was announced by the Regional Director of Health of Dakhla-Oued Eddahab, Salima Saâsaâ, stressing that the state of health of those tested positive for this variant is “stable” and does not cause any concern. The patients in question are, for the time being, subject to sanitary isolation.

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

COVID-19: 6.4% increase in positive cases in Morocco in a fortnight

Presenting the bi-monthly report on the epidemiological situation in the Kingdom, the head of the division of communicable diseases at the Directorate of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Abdelkrim Meziane Bellefquih, explained that this is the fourth consecutive week of increase, a development that requires more vigilance and compliance with preventive measures to maintain the gains.

On the other hand, active cases have decreased from 4,237 to 3,364 cases in a fortnight, a rate of -20.1%. Critical cases increased by 4.5% (401 against 419).

The virus reproduction rate has stabilised at 1.06 after having reached satisfactory levels below 1 in recent weeks.

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

March 29, 2021

Morocco suspends flights with France and Spain

The Moroccan authorities have decided to suspend passenger flights to and from Spain and France from midnight on 30 March 2021 until further notice, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation under the Ministry of Tourism announced in a statement.

These two countries are added to the list of 37 countries with which Morocco has suspended its air links because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the appearance of new variants of the virus.

The list includes Mali, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Conakry, Libya, Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Cameroon, Croatia, Mozambique, Poland, Norway, Finland, Greece, Lebanon, Kuwait, Algeria, Egypt, Italy, Belgium, Turkey, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Australia, Ireland, Brazil, New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Africa and Denmark.

In addition, special passenger flights from these two destinations (France, Spain), will be subject to enhanced controls, in accordance with the health protocol defined by the competent Moroccan authorities.

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