Coronavirus in Morocco: drastic measures to stem the pandemic

Translated by Marine El Hajji

As of Wednesday 1st April 2020, 6 p.m., 654 cases have been confirmed infected with the virus in Morocco according to the Moroccan Ministry of Health. 29 people were confirmed recovered, while 39 were confirmed deceased, according to this source. The Moroccan government took a set of measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA), which was published on March 22nd, 2020 and is based on a sample of 2,470 people, 96% of Moroccan citizens are very concerned about the spread of Covid-19. And as for the risk of getting infected with the virus, 81% of the Moroccan citizens have voiced their concern in this regard.

In Morocco, the Government gave a set of instructions in economic and social terms aimed at preventing the spreading of the virus. Since they declared the state of health emergency, the Government has spared no effort to implement measures able to protect the citizens against the coronavirus. The first move was the suspension of classes in primary schools, middle schools, high schools, and universities from March 16th, 2020. To ensure the continuity of the courses, the Ministry of Education established distance learning, thus allowing students to stay in constant contact with their teachers and professors despite the confinement. Other measures included closing airports, banning gatherings of more than 50 people, closing cafés, hammams, suspending all sporting events, as well as the various recruitment competitions announced by the different ministries…

And in accordance with the King’s directives, the Government is progressively implementing drastic measures to encourage citizens to stay at home for fear that the contamination with Covid-19 might spread to the whole Kingdom.
Every day at 6 p.m., the Ministry of Health holds a press conference to inform about the latest developments of the coronavirus in all regions of the Kingdom. As of Wednesday 1st April 2020, 6 p.m., 654 cases have been confirmed infected with the virus in Morocco according to the Moroccan Ministry of Health. 29 people were confirmed recovered, while 39 were confirmed deceased, still according to this source. Moreover, the number of cases dismissed based on the negative results of the analysis carried out at the Laboratory account to 2,691. The cases who tested positive, in the different regions, as of April 1st, are:

181 cases in the region of Casablanca-Settat,
115 cases in Marrakech-Safi,
113 cases in Rabat-Salé-Kénitra,
110 cases in Fès-Meknès,
45 cases in Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima,
29 cases in the Oriental,
21 cases in Beni Mellal-Khénifra,
20 cases in Drâa-Tafilalet,
17 cases in Souss-Massa,
and one case in Guelmim–Oued Noun.

“We are expecting the curve of the cases’ evolution to flatten, provided that the citizens scrupulously respect the containment measures even inside their homes,” said the Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Moroccan Ministry of Health, Mr. Mohamed El Youbi, during an interview at the Moroccan press agency (MAP).

On the economic front, the Government took a set of measures aimed at providing financial support to the families who need it most. The containment has affected the economic situation of many households, especially those working in the informal sector. In addition to the proactive measures that the Government took to control the price of essential staple foods, the local authorities inflicted severe punishments to offenders during the confinement. The Ministry of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reforms decided to provide financial support to the households that were the most affected by the coronavirus crisis. An emergency fund of 10 billion Moroccan Dirhams (934 billion Euros) was created. The Economic Monitoring Committee will provide financial support to the employees affiliated to the CNSS (National Social Security Fund) and to those working in the informal sector.

“Overall, 90% of the respondents are worried about the virus’ impact on the Moroccan economy, with 59% saying that they are ‘very concerned’ and 31% saying that they are ‘concerned’, specifies the study carried out by the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis. It should be noted that women are more worried than men, with 89% of women concerned about the risk of infection, compared to 77% of men. And when it comes to the spread of the virus, these numbers jump to 98% of women and 94% of men” (still according to the same source).

Lately, the Moroccan Government also took draconian measures aimed at encouraging the citizens to stay at home. In all cities and villages, the local authorities and law enforcement forces ensure night and day that the measures are rigorously implemented. The Civil Defence, the Royal Moroccan Police, the National Security and the auxiliary forces are all patrolling through the city night and day to arrest those who don’t respect the measures taken by the Interior Ministry. Some people were also arrested by the Brigade of the judicial police for spreading fake news on social media.

In Morocco, one can only notice that the coronavirus’ impact is far from catastrophic. The royal directions allowed the Government to take preventive measures. The local authorities of each region have been working hard day and night to protect the citizens and prevent the further spread of Covid-19 which continues to plunge many families into mourning across the globe.

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