The virus first originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has rapidly spread across continents.
Morocco is among many countries suffering from an outbreak of infections, with a total of 7,601 cases, 4,978 recoveries, and 202 deaths as of May 27.
Before the virus reached the country, Moroccan police arrested several suspects for spreading fake news about the situation. The crackdown on allegations is ongoing.
The timeline below documents the chronology of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Morocco.
The timeline also includes measures implemented to contain infections and address impacts across all sectors in the face of pandemic proliferation.
March 2: COVID-19 reaches Morocco.
Moroccan health authorities announce the country’s first novel coronavirus case: A Moroccan man arrived from Italy in February, importing the virus. The statement asks citizens not to worry, as the man’s health was stable.
The first case of COVID-19 in Morocco prompts authorities to take preventive measures against the proliferation of the pandemic. After the first case announcement, the organizers of Morocco’s International Agricultural Exhibition (SIAM) announce their decision to cancel the 2020 event as part of the government’s preventive measures.
The 15th SIAM was scheduled to take place in Meknes from April 14 to 19. The Ministry of Agriculture and the SIAM Association announces the decision through a press release.
Ban on mask export
Morocco imposes an export license for medical protective masks, banning their export without special authorization from the ministry.
The measure follows several attempts to smuggle medical masks in foreign countries.
March 3: Information about the new case.
In a morning press briefing, Morocco’s Minister of Health Khalid addresses the press to provide more details about the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Morocco. During his talk with the press, the minister says the 39-year-old patient made contact with 104 people during his flight, including crew members.
Most of the people he has been in contact with in Morocco are in Casablanca and El Jadida.
Some of them, however, have traveled to other regions such as Ouarzazate. All of these people have been identified, and none exhibit symptoms of the virus.
Suspension of school faked after first case is announced
With the emergence of Morocco’s first case, several fake news reports appear on social media. One shares a rumor that Morocco has decided to suspend school, which the Ministry of Education denies in its first statement related to the virus.
The Ministry of Education calls on Moroccans not to share “this kind of fake news.” The ministry also urges citizens to verify such information and to contact relevant services before sharing this type of content.
March 4: The first case of COVID-19 in Morocco triggers a wave of fake news.
Morocco’s Ministry of Interior releases a statement calling on citizens to stay alert in an effort to counter the fake news already circulating online.
“Stay vigilant in the face of the dissemination of false and fictitious information attributed to official parties through new technology techniques,” the ministry says.
March 5: Authorities confirm Morocco’s second case of COVID-19
Health authorities issue a press release announcing a new case: An 89-year old woman who arrived in Morocco from Italy is carrying the virus.
Organizers of the international Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla release a statement announcing their decision to cancel the gathering to limit the spread of infections.
The event was scheduled for March 18 to 21.
Morocco’s critical case
Later in the day, the Ministry of Health in Morocco announces that the second patient infected with COVID-19 is in critical condition.
The second patient is the 89-year-old Moroccan woman who arrived on a flight from Bologna, Italy on February 25.
The woman’s critical condition is attributed to a chronic disease that has weakened her immune system.
March 8: Morocco suspends flights to Italian cities.
Morocco’s government decides to tighten measures against the pandemic, suspending flights to Milan and Venice.
The decision comes into effect the same day. The announcement follows the rapid surge of confirmed cases in Italy.
March 10: Authorities announce a third case of COVID-19, along with the first fatality.
Health authorities release a statement announcing the diagnosis of a third case COVID-19 in Morocco. The latest patient is a French tourist who arrived in Morocco on March 7.
The patient is in stable condition in a Marrakech hospital. Health authorities assure the public that all necessary public health measures are being taken, in line with international standards.
Morocco experiences its first COVID-19 fatality
The ministry releases a statement regretting the death of the second confirmed patient in Morocco, an 89-year old woman who traveled to Morocco from Italy.
She was in a critical condition because of her chronic disease, which weakened her immune system.
March 11: COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to six.
The Ministry of Health of Health announces two more cases of COVID-19 in Morocco, bringing the total number of cases in the country to five.
The new patients are the wife and daughter of the French tourist who became the country’s third confirmed case of the virus on March 10.
Health authorities later confirm another new case, bringing the total to six. The patient is a French woman of Senegalese origin. The 64-year old woman arrived in Fez from France on Thursday, March 5.
The woman exhibited novel coronavirus symptoms on March 7, the ministry says.
Suspension of sea routes with Italy
The increase of cases in Italy prompts Moroccan authorities to suspend sea routes with the European country, which is the first European country to declare an outbreak.
The decision is in line with the government’s directives to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Morocco, according to the merchant navy at the Moroccan Ministry of Transport and Logistics Directorate.
March 12: Morocco remains in the first stage of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Head of Government El Othmani El Othmani addresses citizens after a weekly government council, asking Moroccans to avoid overreacting and not to panic amid the global pandemic.
The head of government says the outbreak in Morocco is still in the first stage, emphasizing that necessary measures will be taken “in due time.”
March 13: Morocco reports a total of eight COVID-19 patients.
Morocco’s health ministry confirms the country’s seventh case. The carrier of the virus is a 39-year old Moroccan man who arrived in Casablanca from Spain on March 4.
The Ministry of Health releases a statement later in the day confirming the country’s eighth case. The patient is a 64-year-old French woman who arrived in Taroudant, Morocco on March 2.
Suspending flights with Algeria
Morocco decides to suspend flights to and from Algeria, which was among the first African countries to confirm coronavirus cases.
Unified Friday sermon
All mosques give unified speeches as part of the nationwide campaign to publicize measures to prevent the proliferation of the virus.
Morocco suspends school
Suspension of school is no longer a rumor. Morocco decides to suspend all education activities nationwide to keep students and pupils safe and to limit the spread of the virus.
March 14: Morocco expands flight suspensions.
Morocco suspends flights to and from 21 countries including Greece, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, and Austria, effective immediately.
In the Americas, air links are suspended with Canada and Brazil.
In Africa, Morocco decides to suspend flights with Egypt, Niger, Mali, Chad, Mauritania, and Senegal.
Morocco also suspends flights to and from the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, and Bahrain.
March 15: As the government confirms 28 cases of COVID-19 in Morocco, it suspends all international flights.
The number of COVID-19 cases jumps to 28. Morocco’s 11 new cases originated in Spain (6), France (2), Italy (2) and Austria (1), the Ministry of Health clarifies in a press release.
Minister of Transport Abdelkader Amara is among the patients. The infection of Amara urges the government to ask all of its members to undergo COVID-19 tests. All of them test negative.
Suspending all international flights
Morocco suspends all international flights. The move angers some tourists who share videos expressing concerns.
Morocco reassures citizens that special flights will repatriate them.
King Mohammed VI’s Special Fund
King Mohammed VI orders the creation of the Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19, initially comprising MAD 10 billion (over $1 billion).
March 16: COVID-19 cases in Morocco reach 37.
Morocco confirms its 29th case. Health authorities say that 135 people tested negative for the virus.
During the evening, Morocco confirms nine new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 37.
The nine patients are scattered throughout various cities, with two each in Rabat, Fez, and Marrakech. Meanwhile, Meknes, Agadir, and Casablanca each host one of the new patients.
With the spread of the virus, Morocco announces stricter measures. Mosque-goers are instructed to pray at home as all mosques nationwide will close their doors.
The decision affects not only Friday prayers but all five daily prayers.
Morocco closes coffee shops, restaurants, hammams, gyms, and clubs to limit virus proliferation.
Authorities implement hygienic measures for public spaces and transport. Workers in Morocco are disinfecting public transport including trams, buses, and taxis as a preventive measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus.
March 17: Morocco’s case count reaches 38, including two fatalities.
Morocco’s health authorities announce the country’s second fatality. The victim is a 75-year old Moroccan man from Sale, Rabat’s twin city. The health ministry also confirms one new coronavirus case, bringing the number of confirmed infections to 38.
ONCF adheres to measures
Morocco’s railway company announces its decision to reduce the number of trains in operation to avoid the spread of the virus.
The Confederation of Pharmacists’ Unions of Morocco (CSPM) reassures citizens that all pharmacies throughout the country will continue to operate during standard hours during the coming period.
In a press release, the confederation tells citizens pharmacies will “adhere to that in their official working times and carry out periodic guarding without the slightest change in the pharmaceutical services provided.”
Local authorities campaign
Several videos showing authorities driving through streets with loudspeakers go viral on social media. The authorities ask people to remain at home whenever possible to avoid infection.
Strict measures against fake news
The public prosecutor’s office says in a press release that it gave firm instructions to courts across the country to take legal action against anyone who spreads fake news about the coronavirus.
King Mohammed VI chairs a committee devoted to following up on the preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 in Morocco.
A group of banks contributes to the special fund, including Banque Populaire, which adds MAD 1 billion to the initial fund launched by the King.
In addition to banking institutions, Moroccan MPs and other government officials announce contributions to the Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19.
March 18: Morocco reports a total of 54 cases.
The health ministry confirms five new cases of COVID-19 in Morocco, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Morocco to 49.
All new patients arrived in Morocco from foreign locations, including two French nationals who are now isolated at a hospital in Agadir to receive medical care.
Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb gives a press briefing later in the day, emphasizing that the coming days will be crucial.
The ministry of health confirms five more cases, bringing the total to 54.
Restrictions on movement
The Ministries of Health and Interior ask citizens to limit their movement to their living space unless going into the public space is absolutely necessary. The measure seeks to clamp down the spread of the virus.
Police crack down on fake news
Police arrest suspects in Berrechid and Kenitra for their involvement in spreading fake news about the virus and the pandemic, and for trying to incite violence.
Remote university classes
The Ministry of Education informs university students that the Arriadia television channel will broadcast lectures.
March 19: With 63 cases and two recoveries, Morocco declares a state of emergency.
The health ministry issues press release in the morning, confirming four new cases, bringing the total to 58.
The ministry later announces three more cases to bring the total to 61. The total increases to 63 soon after.
Morocco announces the second recovery of a local patient in Casablanca, who caught the virus from her husband.
General directorates of National Security and Territorial Surveillance announces the decision to contribute to the special COVID-19 action fund by MAD 40 million.
National police announce the arrest of a Moroccan female YouTuber for spreading fake news about the virus.
Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani applauds Moroccans’ respect for the measures in place to counter the novel coronavirus.
Morocco’s Ministry of Interior issues a press release to declare a state of emergency. The decision will come into effect starting Friday, March 20.
The ministry tells citizens that they cannot go out to public spaces without authorization from local authorities.
Authorities will provide permission for people who work in necessary sectors, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, medical clinics, telecommunications, and essential freelance activities.
March 20: Cases grow to 79 and a third patient dies, and the country enters lockdown.
Morocco’s confirmed COVID-19 cases reach 66 on Friday morning, and the Ministry of Health confirms the country’s third fatality, a 39-year-old man, as the state of emergency comes into effect.
Throughout the day, the ministry announces more cases, bringing the total to 74, 77, and 79 through the evening.
US mobilizes special flights for tourists
Efforts to repatriate tourists stranded in Morocco continue, with the US chartering special flights to secure the return of its nationals.
Fake news abounds
Police arrest 11 people for their alleged involvement in spreading fake COVID-19 news online. The arrests take place in Casablanca, Rabat, Chefchaouen, Jerada, El Hajeb near Fez, Tiznit, and Biougra in the Souss Massa region, and Meknes.
The Ministry of Health announces that medicines containing chloroquine are still undergoing clinical trials to determine whether they are effective treatments for the coronavirus.
Military rolls out
Images and videos circulating throughout Moroccan social media networks show dozens of military vehicles rolling through neighborhoods around the country, preparing to enforce the impending state of emergency.
Exceptional movement permits
The Interior Ministry clarifies that Moroccan citizens and residents must fill out an “exceptional movement permit” and have it signed by local authorities before leaving their homes to work, buy groceries and medicine, or receive medical care.
Morocco maintains ‘sufficient’ stocks of essentials
The Ministry of Industry assures that Moroccan markets have sufficient quantities for the coming months and that sales outlets and supermarkets will remain open for citizens to purchase essential goods during the state of emergency.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Energy affirms that the country has sufficient stock of gas cylinders to meet the national need for the next 40 days.
State of emergency enters into force
Morocco’s state of emergency comes into effect at 6 p.m. until further notice.
Everyone in Morocco must comply with the measures under the state of emergency or face penalty of sanctions provided for in the Criminal Code, the Ministry of Interior warned.
Morocco’s public forces, police, Royal Gendarmerie, and military will enforce the measures firmly and responsibly against anyone in public spaces.
Updated by Safaa Kasraoui on March 20 at 7 p.m.
March 21: Morocco’s cases climb to 104 and a third patient recovers.
Morocco begins the day with 86 cases, confirmed in the early hours of March 21.
COVID-19 cases jump to 104 in the evening after two separate announcements confirm 18 more diagnoses.
Suspension of intercity buses
The Ministry of Interior announces the suspension of all intercity buses. Following the suspension of buses, traveling between cities will only be possible via trains or private vehicles, and travelers will have to undergo checks from the authorities and provide justifications for their travel.
ONCF suspends trains
The National Office of Railways (ONCF) announces that it will limit train movement between Casablanca, Rabat, and Kenitra; Casablanca and the Mohammed V Airport; and Casablanca, Settat, and El Jadida; while suspending travel to all other destinations.
The Ministry of Health announces Morocco’s third recovered COVID-19 patient, a French woman of Senegalese origin.
March 22: COVID-19 cases stand at 115, including four deaths.
One patient dies of the virus, bringing the death toll to four.
Defiance of state of emergency
Videos surface of groups of people in Tangier, Tetouan, Fez, and Sale taking to the streets the night before, defying the state of emergency measures. The demonstrators shout “Allahu akbar” (God is great) and chant religious slogans.
In response, Moroccans call upon authorities to arrest anyone involved in undermining the country’s preventive measures.
RAM suspends domestic flights
Morocco’s national carrier, Royal Air Maroc (RAM), suspends all domestic flights until further notice.
The Ministry of Interior prepares a draft decree seeking to impose legal actions against anyone who defies the state of emergency. The government council approves the law later in the day.
Anyone who defies the state of emergency and the orders of Moroccan authorities will receive a sentence ranging from one to three months in prison and pay a fine ranging from MAD 300 to 1,300 ($30 to $132).
State of emergency effective until April 20
Morocco’s government announces its plans to extend the state of emergency until April 20 to ensure the safety of citizens and residents. The government also moves to prohibit people from leaving their homes except for emergency cases and to ban all social gatherings.
Repatriation flights end
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that there will be no more repatriation flights for international tourists after March 22, until further notice.
King mobilizes military
King Mohammed VI mobilizes the military to strengthen Morocco’s medical infrastructure dedicated to the response to and management of the coronavirus pandemic.
The King calls on military officials to ensure that “military medicine takes part jointly with its civilian counterpart in the delicate mission of fighting the pandemic,” adding that civil and military doctors must work “in harmony and intelligence.”
March 23: Cases climb to 143 while recoveries increase to five.
The day begins with 122 COVID-19 cases and climbs to 143 by the evening. Two more patients recover from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to five.
The virus primarily concentrated in the regions of Fez-Meknes (35 cases), Casablanca-Settat (34 cases), and Rabat-Sale-Kenitra (32 cases).
Crackdown on state of emergency violations
Police in Tangier arrest two individuals, aged 24 and 42, for defying the state of emergency by instigating a rally on March 21 and disobeying lockdown orders.
Meanwhile, police in Fez arrest five suspects, including former terrorism and extremism offenders, for inciting people to participate in March 21 demonstrations.
Morocco votes to criminalize state of emergency violations
A committee for the Ministry of Interior within the House of Representatives unanimously votes for draft decree Law 2.20.292 to penalize violators of the state of emergency.
Economic Committee meeting
Morocco’s new Economic Monitoring Committee, created to mitigate the damage of COVID-19 on the economy, examines how to support informal workers.
Pasteur Institute sues over indecent recording
A man posing as a microscopic analyst at the Pasteur Institute of Morocco (IPM) advised citizens to have daily sexual intercourse to avoid coronavirus infection in a recording that was disseminated on social networks. IPM condemned the recording and took legal action against the author.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on March 24 at 4 p.m.
March 24: Morocco’s COVID-19 cases reach 170, including five deaths and six recoveries.
The General Prosecutor’s Office in Morocco urges all judges across the country to implement instructions on the emergency state. The measure seeks to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in Morocco.
No taxes on donation
The Moroccan Tax System (DGI) announces that contributions and donations to Morocco’s Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19 are not subject to taxes
French automotive company Renault provides Morocco with 50 ambulances for the fight against COVID-19.
Thank you, Morocco
The embassies of the US and UK share messages of gratitude on social media, thanking Moroccans for their generosity and hospitality amid the COVID-19 panic.
March 25: Cases amount to 225, including six deaths and seven recoveries.
More solidarity ahead
Hotel Le Rio announces its decision to devote rooms to medical workers helping patients to fight COVID-19.
Food on Demand serves free meals to Moroccan doctors fighting COVID-19 as part of the national solidarity campaign with health sector workers.
No recruitment, promotions
The Moroccan government announced the decision to suspend all recruitments and promotions amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Morocco’s Ministry of Interior announced a new hotline “Allo 300” to receive calls from citizens in the event of an emergency or to report new COVID-19 cases.
March 26: Eight COVID-19 patients have recovered and ten have died as cases grow to 275.
The health ministry confirms 59 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 275. The country’s death toll reaches 10.
The Moroccan Jewish community in Mexico expresses pride and satisfaction with Morocco’s measures to counter the spread of COVID-19.
Morocco’s health ministry announces that it has sufficient stocks of chloroquine, an anti-malarial medicine, to use for COVID-19 treatment.
The US grants Morocco MAD 6.6 million ($642,648) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Doctors donate private clinics to help public health institutions to receive COVID-19 patients for medical care.
More free hotel rooms for doctors
Accor Hotels in Morocco devotes rooms and services to medical personnel battling the COVID-19 crisis, in line with the national solidarity campaign.
The Australian embassy issues a statement to thank Moroccans for their compassion during the COVID-19 crisis.
March 27: More cases
Morocco’s COVID-19 cases climb to 345, while the death toll stands at 24.
The European Union grants Morocco €450 million to cope up with the COVID-19 crisis.
Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani asks citizens to stay home, emphasizing that the coming days will be crucial.
March 28: COVID-19 cases climb to 402, and 11 patients have recovered while 22 have died.
Morocco’s Ministry of Health confirms 13 new COVID-19 cases overnight, bringing the total to 358 cases on the morning of March 28.
The number of recovered patients stands at 11, while the death toll reaches 23.
The Ministry of Health later confirms 12 more cases, bringing the total to 402.
Moroccan pharmacies decide to implement new measures in line with the evolution of the country’s special health circumstances, remaining open for customers through the typical lunch hours rather than closing for a break.
Tax postponement possible
Morocco’s General Directorate of Taxes (DGI) announces that Moroccan companies with an annual turnover equal to or higher than MAD 20 million ($2 million) can request a postponement of their tax payment deadlines.
March 29: Morocco’s cases amount to 463, including 26 deaths and 13 recoveries.
Morocco’s health ministry confirms 35 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 437. The country’s death toll increases to 26, while recoveries increase to 12.
Cases later increase to 463 while recoveries reach 13. The death toll stands at 26.
Serving the needy
Morocco’s agriculture cooperative, COPAG-Jouda, announces the intention to serve 3,000 families with basic necessities for a month.
COPAG-Jaouda says it will also distribute free protective masks to customers throughout its 100,000 points of sale in Morocco.
No forecasts from WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) denies issuing forecasts on the COVID-19 situation and spread in Morocco.
March 30: The COVID-19 case count hits 516, and 29 patients have died while 13 have recovered.
Morocco’s health ministry records 37 cases, bringing the total to 516 as of 8 a.m.
The death toll reaches 27 in the morning and hits 29 later in the day. Meanwhile, 13 COVID-19 patients have recovered.
McDonald’s Morocco joins solidarity
McDonald’s joins Morocco’s national solidarity campaign, launching #Mta7dine” (meaning “united”) to distribute free meals to “those most in need.”
Informal workers aid
Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior launches the registration process for informal workers with suspended activity to benefit from a monthly assistance stipend.
Moroccan workers in the informal sector should send their registration number under the National Medical Assistance Program (RAMED) to the toll-free number 1212, the ministry said in a statement.
The number of COVID-19 cases reaches 534 after the ministry records 18 new infections, while the death toll stands at 33. The ministry confirms one new recovery, bringing the total number of recovered patients in the country to 14.
Cases climb to 556 by 9:30 p.m.
March 31: Morocco’s case count totals 602, with 36 deaths and 24 recoveries.
Morocco confirms 18 new COVID-19 overnight for a total of 574. Fifteen COVID-19 patients have recovered while the death toll stands at 33.
The case total later rises to 602 as the ministry confirms 28 new COVID-18 cases.
The ministry also reports three new deaths, bringing Morocco’s COVID-19 death toll to 36.
The number of recovered patients in Morocco reaches 24 after the ministry reports 10 new recoveries.
Morocco’s Banque Populaire (BCP) joins the list of banks that launched “exceptional” measures in favor of companies affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Bank Populaire implements measures to enable its customers and companies to deal with their cash flow problems, the institution said in a press release.
The measures include the postponement of fixed maturities without penalty clauses due to late delivery until June 30, and an additional cash line in the form of a fine credit maturing on December 31, 2020.
The measure is “intended to cover up to at 3 months of current expenses (payment of salaries, payment of suppliers, payment of rent, etc.),” the statement said.
No Moroccans in US task force
Moroccan immunology doctor Moncef Slaoui denies being part of a US government task force to find a vaccine for COVID-19.
The doctor said he has no working arrangements with the US government.
Morocco decides to intensify screening tests, mobilizing to perform 10,000 screening tests per day.
Updated by Safaa Kasraoui on April 5 at 7 p.m.
April 1: Morocco confirms 654 total cases of COVID-19, including 39 deaths and 29 recoveries.
Casablanca police arrest a 35-year-old man for hate speech and spreading fake news after he falsely accused a Jewish Moroccan and a foreign Arab national of infecting a large number of people.
The Interministerial Committee in charge of monitoring supply, prices, and quality control operations reassures citizens that prices of food supplies are stable, except for legumes.
The government suspends customs duties on dry beans, lentils, chickpeas, and hard wheat and extends the suspension of import duties on soft wheat until June 15.
Health Minister Ait Taleb says health authorities require an average of three weeks to ensure the recovery of each patient infected with COVID-19. He assures Morocco is successfully managing the health crisis.
Rapid test kits
Lyoubi announces Morocco is set to purchase a total of 100,000 rapid test kids for COVID-19 detection.
Flatten the curve
“We expect a flattening of the curve of the evolution of cases,” says Lyoubi, citing the impact of measures introduced by the government to keep the COVID-19 spread under control.
The Ministry of Health announces its intention to launch a scientific investigation to determine the exact causes of death of Morocco’s COVID-19 patients. The ministry aims to understand the causes of death on a case-by-case basis and determine whether a patient may have died due to complications from taking other drugs.
The head of the supply department at the Ministry of Health, Mahjoub Ahdi, says Morocco was among the first countries worldwide to secure a sufficient stock of the chloroquine-based drugs used to treat COVID-19 patients, despite the high demand in the global market.
April 2: Morocco confirms 708 cases of COVID-19, including 31 recoveries and 44 deaths.
More than 700,000 workers from the private sector are registered to benefit from the monthly stipend allowance issued by the National Social Security Fund (CNSS). Morocco’s Special Fund for COVID-19 will cover employees who are without pay due to the pandemic.
Students from the Moroccan School of Engineering Sciences (EMSI) developed three medical inventions that could help fight the spread of COVID-19. The three inventions are called “African Savior,” “Digital System Medical Respiratory,” and “Moroccan Electronic Perspective.”
FAR field hospital
Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces (FAR) complete the construction of the first field hospital to host COVID-19 patients in Benslimane, near Casablanca, after only six days of work.
Agricultural activity stable
The Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture assures the national market will be supplied with necessary food items as usual throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Agriculture sector operators at the levels production, packaging, processing, and distribution are maintaining a normal pace of activity, the ministry reports.
The Ministry of Education announces its “Telmid Tice” website hosting remote classes welcomes 600,000 users every day. The ministry says the total number of educational videos produced since the site’s launch on March 16 has reached 3,000.
April 3: Morocco reports 791 cases of COVID-19, including 57 recoveries and 48 deaths.
Moroccan lawyers sue racist French doctors
Two French doctors, Jean-Paul Mira and Camille Locht, sparked outrage on April 1 after suggesting researchers test potential COVID-19 vaccines on Africans because “they do not have masks, treatment, nor intensive care” during a live talk show on French television channel LCI.
Two days later, the Moroccan Lawyers Club slams the doctors as “colonialists” and files a complaint for defamation and racism with the public prosecutor in Casablanca. The lawyers club also launches a campaign, “We are not laboratory rats,” to denounce the comments.
Police investigate nurse in Moroccan Sahara
Moroccan judicial police open an investigation into a public hospital nurse who alleged the COVID-19 situation in Boujdour in the Moroccan Sahara is worsening in a recording. Law 22-20, approved on March 19, criminalizes the sharing of fake news.
The DGSN says technical experts are examining the electronic media used to broadcast the recording to determine the degree of implication of the defendant in the criminal acts.
State of emergency offenders
The Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office says courts have prosecuted 4,835 individuals for violating the state of emergency since the implementation of Law 2.20.292 on March 24. In total, 5,098 offenders have been arrested for violations since March 20.
Made in Morocco
A group of Moroccan researchers and engineers unveil two “100% Moroccan” devices, an automatic ventilator and an infrared thermometer, to assist the country’s efforts in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
While only prototype models of the inventions have been assembled, mass production should come in the near future.
Amid international travel restrictions and economic setbacks during the global COVID-19 crisis, Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccans Residing Abroad (MREs) announces its decision to cover the funeral costs of low-income MREs and those who do not have Islamic funeral insurance.
Morocco’s Ministry of Solidarity launches a new support service for individuals with autism during the COVID-19 crisis. The service specializes in communication, active listening, and personal and academic orientation.
April 4: Total cases stand at 919, including 59 deaths and 66 recoveries.
The Ministry of Health confirms a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases in one day, with 128 testing positive.
Mohammed VI University of Health Sciences (UM6SS) in Casablanca inaugurates a medical unit for the hospitalization of COVID-19 patients. The unit operates as a full end-to-end system, carrying out procedures ranging from identifying possible cases, confirming infections, hospitalizing patients, and providing treatment.
April 5: COVID-19 cases surge to 1,021, including 70 deaths and 76 recoveries.
King Mohammed VI orders the release of 5,654 detainees in an exceptional royal pardon due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In addition to the royal pardon, the King ordered stronger protection of detainees within prison establishments against the spread of the virus.
Special evacuation flight for Americans
The US announces the preparation of another evacuation flight in favor of its citizens and lawful permanent residents stranded in Morocco. The one-way flight from Casablanca to London will cost $575. Travelers will then have to arrange their own flights from London to the US and prepare any necessary accommodation.
The flight will be the final US evacuation operation if it takes place.
COVID-19: A family affair?
Director of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Health Mohamed El Youbi attributes the continuing increase of COVID-19 cases in Morocco to virus transmission among families.
Ministry of Heath debunks doctors’ deaths
Expressing condolences with the families of the two doctors who died of COVID-19 in the cities of Casablanca and Meknes on April 4, the ministry denied that they were infected on duty.
Postponing water, electric bill payments
The National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) takes additional measures to support customers experiencing financial issues during the COVID-19 crisis: Postponing payments, setting up remote payment facilities, and guaranteeing adequate services.
April 6: Morocco confirms 99 infections in 24 hours, ending the day with 1,120 cases, 81 recoveries, and 80 deaths.
April 6 sees the third-highest increase in cases in one day. The Ministry of Health and independent medical experts urge Morocco’s citizens and residents to wear face masks while outside.
Moroccans should wear cloth masks when outside, while surgical masks and FFP2 masks should be reserved for healthcare personnel, advises a statement from the Moroccan Society of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Resuscitation (SMAAR), and the Moroccan Society of Emergency Medicine (SMMU).
Casablanca to host major COVID-19 treatment site
Casablanca authorities announce plans for the city to host a temporary field hospital with a capacity of over 700 beds to receive and treat potential COVID-19 patients. Construction requires $450,000 and should only take a few weeks.
Police arrest thousands for emergency state violations
Morocco’s DGSN announces that authorities have arrested 8,612 individuals since March 19 for violating the state of emergency (8,530 arrests) and for spreading COVID-19-related fake news or hate speech (82 arrests).
Uncapping external loans
Removing the limit on Morocco’s external loans would allow the country to benefit from additional resources from international financial organizations in order to better respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Prioritizing protective mask production
An industrial unit specializing in textiles for export in the Sidi Ghanem industrial district focuses its efforts on manufacturing protective face masks, adapting its production chain to reach an output of 25,000 masks per day.
Casablanca maternity ward welcomes COVID-19 patients
The Moulay Youssef Regional Hospital Center (CHR) in Casablanca transforms its 20-bed maternity ward to accommodate COVID-19 patients. The ward can host 16 “mild cases” and has four rooms for patients in critical condition. In the pediatric ward, the hospital plans to add 20 beds and some intensive care rooms.
Postponing water, electric bill payments
The National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) takes additional measures to support customers experiencing financial issues during the COVID-19 crisis: Postponing payments, setting up remote payment facilities, and guaranteeing adequate services.
Food price, quality violations continue
The Ministry of Economy announces the Interministerial Committee in Charge of Monitoring Supply, Prices, and Quality detected 973 violations from March 1 to April 5 at 40,000 retail outlets and storage warehouses in Rabat. The committee has increased operations to prevent merchants from exploiting the COVID-19 crisis and increasing prices.
FAR field hospital up and running
Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces complete construction on a COVID-19 field hospital in Nouaceur, near Casablanca, after six days of work. The field hospital has a capacity of 200 beds and is equipped with the necessary medical equipment to treat COVID-19 patients.
Masks become mandatory
Morocco’s government announces that wearing medical masks in public spaces and the workplace is mandatory starting Tuesday, April 7.
King Mohammed VI instructed the government to provide protective masks to the public at an appropriate price according to Article 3 of Law 2.20.292. The price for one mask is set at MAD 0.80 (approximately $0.10).
El Othmani: Morocco has reached ‘critical phase’
Speaking at a meeting, El Othmani warns that Morocco is now at a critical phase in the fight against the pandemic and that it is important to respect the government’s measures against the spread of the virus.
El Othmani thanks all Moroccans for their “great mobilization” during the crisis.
Football clubs launch COVID-19 donation campaigns
Moroccan football clubs Raja Club Athletic (RCA) and Wydad Athletic Club (WAC) collect donations for Morocco’s COVID-19 fund by selling tickets to a virtual game between the respective team and the coronavirus.
Amara goes home
Morocco’s Minister of Equipment Abdelkader Amara recovers from COVID-19 after testing positive following his return from an official working visit to Europe. Amara left the Mohammed V military hospital in Rabat on Monday, April 6, after being admitted to the hospital on March 24.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on April 6 at 6 p.m.
April 7: Cases increase by 85 for a total of 1,184, including 93 recoveries and 90 deaths.
The country confirmed 10 new fatalities and 12 recoveries in 24 hours.
Moroccan ministry calls out foreign correspondents
The communications department at the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports says it detected many irregularities and professional misconduct, attributed to some correspondents covering the COVID-19 development in Morocco for accredited foreign media.
The ministry urges all correspondents to adhere to regulations and laws in place and to respect professional ethics.
Rabat International University solutions
UIR launches initiatives to develop local solutions for medical personnel working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, manufacturing protective face masks for the nursing staff of hospitals in the Rabat region.
Casablanca authorities condemn stone-throwers
A viral video shows local authorities in Casablanca condemning the behavior of some young people, who disrespected security services enforcing Morocco’s lockdown by throwing stones at patrol units.
“While some people are throwing flowers and showing gratitude to authorities, you are throwing stones at them,” a uniformed man tells the residents of an apartment building in Sidi Bernoussi.
Police launch an investigation into the incident and arrest three individuals in their twenties for their alleged violation of the state of health emergency and assault of public authorities enforcing containment measures.
Morocco to export masks to Europe
Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy says protective face masks produced by Moroccan manufacturers will soon hit European markets to alleviate production pressure in Europe’s hard-hit countries.
King Mohammed VI leads by example
In his first appearance since the new face mask regulations, King Mohammed VI demonstrates how Moroccan citizens should act responsibly, wearing a face mask during a royal audience to receive Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani, Minister of Education Said Amzazi, and newly-appointed Minister of Culture Othman El Ferdaous.
The Finance and Economic Development Committee at the House of Representatives adopts draft decree-law 2.20.320, allowing the government to exceed the ceiling for external funding that was set for the 2020 fiscal year.
The committee’s decision aims to fulfill the country’s need in foreign exchange, given the pandemic’s impact on several sectors.
April 8: Casablanca-Settat hosts nearly one-third of Morocco’s 1,275 cases.
Morocco confirms 91 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours. The country’s death toll stands at 93 while 97 patients have recovered.
Ventilators for COVID-19 patients
SERMP, a research and mechanical precision engineering company in Morocco, is contributing to the national campaign to assist medical personnel and COVID-19 patients amid the health crisis by manufacturing 500 ventilators.
Suspension of rent payments
King Mohammed VI decides to suspend rent payments for tenants of Islamic Endowment premises. The measure will benefit hundreds of thousands of tenants across the country, particularly in cities with bustling medinas (old cities) such as Fez and Rabat, whose livelihoods depend on handicrafts, trade, and other private and informal sector services.
Morocco experiences recession
In its quarterly economic note, Morocco’s High Commission for Planning reports a 1.1% recession in economic growth in the first quarter of 2020, expecting a 1.8% decline in the second quarter.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morocco’s trade balance deficit has widened by 23.8% in the first quarter of 2020 thanks to a significant drop in exports compared to imports.
EIB presents €440 million loan
The European Investment Bank Group (EIB) announces its financial support for the private sector in Morocco, notably through its credit lines with Moroccan financial institutions amounting to €440 million.
The loan is intended to assist Morocco in addressing the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
April 9: Morocco’s Ministry of Health confirms 99 new cases, bringing the total to 1,374, including 109 recoveries and 97 deaths.
The ministry reports four fatalities and twelve recoveries in 24 hours.
Four million free masks
In collaboration with the Moroccan Association of Textile and Clothing Industries (AMITH), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Tangier-Tetouan Al Hoceima region (CCIS) decides to distribute four million face masks for free during April.
Moroccan task force
The Ministry of Education launches a program promoting scientific research in all fields related to COVID-19, with an investment of $1 million. The program aims to ensure researchers are ready and equipped to carry out research projects in all fields related to COVID-19 and eventually find solutions to the crisis and mitigate potential future pandemics.
Spain denies fake news
Spain refutes allegations that Spanish authorities seized exports of several medicines intended for Morocco.
The Spanish Embassy in Morocco explains the medicines in question have indeed been detained, but solely to examine their compliance with the requirements in force before shipping to the claimants.
Face masks in the workplace
The Moroccan ministries of health and industry urge companies, industrial firms, and production units to provide their employees with protective face masks to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Stipends for non-RAMED holders
The CVE announces its decision to compensate informal sector workers, who no longer have income due to the suspension of non-essential commercial activities, through the national COVID-19 fund. Non-RAMED holders who work in the informal sector will receive financial aid ranging from $78 to $117 depending on family size.
British embassy sets up COVID-19 fund
Following British citizens’ requests, the British embassy creates a bank account for Britons in Morocco who want to donate to the special fund for the management and response to COVID-19.
German national recovers
A 78-year-old German national recovers from COVID-19 at the Mohammed VI Hospital in Tangier. The patient responded well to the chloroquine treatment and displayed no side effects, according to the director of the Mohammed VI Hospital, Dr. Mounir Marrakchi.
April 10: Total cases in the country stand at 1,448, including 112 recoveries and 107 deaths.
Lyoubi confirms the emergence of 74 new cases, 13 recoveries, and 10 deaths in 24 hours.
Police catch more than 22,000 emergency state violators
The DGSN announces that Moroccan police have arrested a total of 22,541 people for breaching the state of emergency since March 20. The majority of the arrests are of individuals who did not comply with the order to avoid crowds and restrict movement, while some of those arrested had left their homes without an exceptional movement permit.
Moroccan Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch says Morocco’s vegetable production can cover the national market’s demand until December 2020, reiterating that the exceptional measures taken to curb the COVID-19 pandemic do not affect the supply of essential goods to Moroccan markets.
Stranded Dutch tourists
Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok calls on Morocco to allow his “distressed” compatriots to go home, and MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma argued that it is “unacceptable” for Morocco to keep flights suspended.
Chariot shifts gears
Chariot Oil & Gas is refocusing its strategy in response to the market upheaval related to the spread of COVID-19 and developing a Moroccan gas business. The project will deliver gas from Anchois, a development site off Morocco’s northern Atlantic coast.
EIB reiterates support
EIB Vice President Emma Navarro says the bank is ready to support Morocco’s health system, particularly through purchasing medical equipment and strengthening health infrastructure. The European bank is “already active in this area” in Morocco, notably by financing the construction and modernization of 16 hospitals throughout the country.
Moroccan and Spanish kings talk coronavirus
The Spanish royal family announces that King Mohammed VI held a telephone call with Spanish King Felipe VI to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. The two leaders expressed solidarity in the fight against the pandemic.
SALAMA phase two
UNFPA launches the second phase of Operation SALAMA intending to protect vulnerable communities in Morocco, particularly individuals with special needs and the elderly, against the risk of COVID-19 infection.
April 11: Morocco reports a total of 1,545 cases of the virus, 146 recoveries, and 111 deaths.
In 24 hours, the ministry reported 79 new cases, 24 recoveries, and four deaths.
The Ministry of Economy announces that Moroccan citizens have used text messages to donate over MAD 6.5 million ($650,000) to the country’s COVID-19 response fund. Every text message sent to the telephone number 1919 represents a MAD 10 ($1) donation to the fund.
The 10th flight to repatriate stranded Americans from Morocco departs from Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport. The US embassy expresses gratitude to Moroccan authorities for their cooperation to ensure the success of the operation.
April 12: The Ministry of Health puts Morocco’s COVID-19 totals at 1,661 cases, 177 recoveries, and 118 deaths.
In 24 hours, the ministry has confirmed 116 new cases of the virus and reported seven deaths.
Foreign ministry vows to assist Moroccans abroad
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is increasing efforts to assist Moroccan tourists and expatriates around the world. The ministry’s latest action is the instructions to the consulate general of Morocco in Dusseldorf, western Germany, to support the non-resident Moroccan citizens in the region during the period of confinement.
Yan & One switches from beauty to hygiene
Moroccan cosmetics brand and retailer Yan & One donates 55,000 liters of hydroalcoholic solution to hospitals in Morocco.
UN domestic violence initiative
Morocco joins the UN’s international initiative to counter domestic violence across the country and worldwide as governments impose lockdowns to counter the spread of the coronavirus. Morocco vows to position the “prevention and remedy” of domestic violence as a key national and global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 3-month-old girl named Sama recovers from COVID-19 at the Hassan II University Hospital Center in Fez, becoming Morocco’s youngest recovered patient. The medical staff who were taking care of Sama were overjoyed by her recovery.
Jews account for 10% of Morocco’s COVID-19 deaths
Israeli officials who monitor developments in the Moroccan Jewish community report that Moroccan Jews account for more than 10% of Morocco’s COVID-19 deaths after 13 people died in Casablanca after attending a wedding in Agadir and Purim celebrations in Morocco’s economic capital.
Only 1,500 to 2,000 Jews currently live in Morocco, yet account for 10.3% of the country’s 126 COVID-19 deaths.
April 13: Recoveries are on the rise in Morocco. The country records 1,763 total cases, 203 recoveries, and 126 deaths.
The ministry confirmed 102 cases and 26 recoveries in 24 hours.
El Youbi: COVID-19 is under control
El Youbi assures Moroccans that the country is still in the second phase of its COVID-19 outbreak, saying the situation does not surprise Morocco’s health experts.
“We were expecting this and getting ready for the situation since the outbreak of the pandemic in Hubei [China],” he says.
The health official explains that Morocco still has the pandemic under control, thanks to its quick preventive measures that softened the severity and danger of the country’s outcomes.
Pregnant patient gives birth to healthy baby
The Mohammed VI University Hospital in Oujda says a pregnant Moroccan woman infected with COVID-19 gave birth “in good conditions” to a baby “in good health” on April 9. The baby was not contaminated by the virus.
The woman is the first COVID-19 patient to give birth in Morocco.
Brussels Airlines suspends Marrakech flights until 2021
Brussels Airlines intensifies precautionary measures in response to the COVID-19 spread, announcing a decision to cancel flights to Marrakech.
The Belgian airline says it will not fly to Marrakech until March 31, 2021. The airline will also suspend its flights to Seville, Valencia, Bristol, Hanover, Moscow, Billund, and Santorini.
King Mohamed VI proposes joint African COVID-19 response
King Mohammed VI holds high-level talks with the President of Cote D’Ivoire Alassane Dramane Ouattara and the President of Senegal Macky Sall on the alarming evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic on the African continent.
The King proposes an African leaders initiative aimed at establishing an operational framework to accompany African countries in their various phases of managing the pandemic.
El Othmani commends COVID-19 measures
El Othmani says the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Morocco confirms the validity of the Moroccan government’s proactive and precautionary measures.
The measures, taken at the appropriate time, have reduced the spread of COVID-19 in the country, he adds.
“The increase in [coronavirus] cases is still moderate, thanks to the efforts made by everyone.”
CDG Capital predicts decline in foreign currency reserves
In its annual macroeconomic and rate report, Moroccan investment bank CDG Capital says the COVID-19 crisis and drought year has strongly impacted the evolution of Morocco’s main macroeconomic balances in 2020.
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted Morocco’s foreign currency reserves, which are grounded in tourism income, money transfers of Moroccans residing abroad, and foreign direct investment.
CDG expects foreign exchange reserves to suffer from the decline in the tourism balance, money transfers of Moroccans residing abroad (MREs), and foreign direct investment (FDI).
Face visor production
Trade minister Hafid Elalamy announces Morocco now produces 70,000 reusable face visors per day to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The 100% Moroccan-made visors are reusable for up to one month with regular disinfection.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on April 13 at 8 p.m.
April 14: Morocco records its first coronavirus-related death-free day in three weeks.
With 125 new cases, the total hits 1,888. The death toll stands at 126 while 14 patients are cleared of the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 217.
COVID-19 infiltrates prison
Morocco’s local prison in Ksar El Kbir, 99.5 kilometers from Tangier, confirms COVID-19 infections among four prison employees and one inmate. All of the patients have been transferred to a hospital for treatment.
The Ksar El Kbir local prison is the first and only jail in Morocco to announce contamination to date.
Coronavirus tracking app
Morocco commences the development of a mobile app that tracks COVID-19 carriers to identify potential infections. The Ministry of Interior, in coordination with the ministries of health and industry, has entrusted the app development to the Digital Development Agency (ADD).
The app is set to launch at the end of April. In addition to tracking, the tool will also enable the ministries of health and the interior to identify individuals who made contact with COVID-19 patients over the past 21 days to protect at-risk individuals.
El Othmani cuts salaries
Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani announces his decision to deduct three days’ wages from the net salaries of state civil servants, local authorities, and public establishments to be injected into the national COVID-19 fund.
El Othmani says that the decision is in accordance with Decree-Law 2.20.292 on the state of health emergency, and is based on the will of civil servants to contribute to the national solidarity effort.
Morocco’s Ambassador to China, Aziz Mekouar, reveals that the Chinese government sent large shipments of medical equipment to Morocco via four separate flights.
The embassy of Morocco in Beijing has mobilized resources for further acquisition of medical equipment and devices from China.
COVID-19 screening diversification
Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb announces Morocco’s decision to widen and diversify screening tests for COVID-19 as part of a strategy to prepare for the end of confinement.
The new measure seeks to reduce the waiting time for results and test analyses for possible COVID-19 cases, and help to identify those who have “acquired the immunity after the recovery from coronavirus and to diagnose affected patients.”
The Hassan II Regional Hospital in Agadir is now able to carry out screening tests for the novel coronavirus, using the reference technique for the diagnosis of COVID-19 in accordance with instructions from the health ministry.
In addition to Agadir’s hospital, the ministry allowed six public university hospital centers, two private clinics, and several military hospitals throughout the country to carry out screening tests to detect possible cases in their laboratories.
April 15: The health ministry records 136 new cases of COVID-19 in one day.
Total cases stand at 2,024, including 229 recoveries and 127 deaths. Twelve patients recovered in 24 hours while only one succumbed to the virus.
More than 18,000 Moroccans stranded abroad
The minister delegate in charge of Moroccans residing abroad (MREs) Nezha El Ouafi estimates the number of Moroccans stranded abroad at 18,226, and that 2,743 are receiving accommodation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Crime, traffic accidents fall
The medical state of emergency in Morocco has resulted in a remarkable decline in crimes and road accidents.
DGSN announces that the general crime rate in Morocco fell by 20% in March 2020 compared to March 2019.
Security services recorded a decrease of 81.05% in all injuries related to road accidents, a 79.12% decrease in severe injuries, and a 65.52% decrease in road accident fatalities between March 20 to April 12, 2020, and the same period in 2019.
Moroccan startup invents new automatic ventilator
Moroccan startup company STM Loop and researchers from the Faculty of Science and Technology in Tangier (FST Tangier) have invented a new automatic ventilator model to help doctors treat COVID-19 patients.
The automatic ventilator includes an intelligent program that determines the optimal level of air pressure and volume. The system also gives doctors the ability to control the variables as necessary.
A group of Moroccan engineers and doctors have invented an intelligent mask that allows users to detect COVID-19 cases. The group recently launched an initial version of the intelligent mask for automatic remote detection of the virus (MIDAD), which also serves as protective gear.
The group also invented a tracking application called Trackorona that will accompany the mask, offering a method for predicting and diagnosing the virus.
April 16: In 24 hours, the ministry confirms 259 new cases of COVID-19, Morocco’s highest daily count so far. Total cases stand at 2,283.
The ministry also confirms three deaths and 20 recoveries in the past 24 hours. The death toll stands at 130 while the number of recovered patients has reached 249.
AMANWAY disinfection tunnel
The Hassan II Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Casablanca announces its development of a prototype of an individual disinfection tunnel called “AMANWAY.”
As individuals pass through the tunnel, a system diffuses disinfectant products onto the user.
The machine aims to help Morocco prepare for the end of confinement.
Moroccan startup leads disinfection by drone campaign
The startup organized a disinfection mission in Harhoura, near Rabat, with the participation of elected officials, using their drones to spray sanitary disinfectants on the streets of the beach town.
Disinfection by drones requires less time and manpower than manual disinfection.
The startup has developed a spraying system that allows for the disinfection of public spaces while respecting health and safety standards, thanks to its equipped cameras and thermal detectors.
Assisting deceased MREs
The minister delegate for Moroccans residing abroad (MREs) reiterates Morocco’s vows to assist MREs and repatriate the remains of deceased relatives after the COVID-19 crisis passes.
Marrakech du Rire canceled
Israel and UAE anger Rabat
Israel and the UAE have angered Rabat after scheduling a joint flight to repatriate Israeli and Emarati tourists stranded in Marrakech and Casablanca. The countries failed to disclose all of the flight’s details to Moroccan authorities.
Abu Dhabi has been threatening to impose restrictions on a list of countries that cannot repatriate their stranded tourists and non-resident nationals amid closed borders and suspensions of air travel.
April 17: Morocco confirms 281 cases in 24 hours, the highest daily increase the country has seen.
Total cases climb to 2,564, including 135 deaths and 281 recoveries.
Marrakech sees 32% overnight surge in cases
The Marrakech-Safi region records a 32% increase in its COVID-19 cases overnight with 156 new cases, bringing the region’s total case number to 643.
Marrakech registered its first case of the virus on March 10. When Morocco entered a state of emergency on March 20, the region had fewer than 10 COVID-19 cases.
Abdeslam Ouaddou donates tablets to students
Former Moroccan football player Abdeslam Ouaddou has donated 732 tablets to young schoolchildren of the rural commune of Alnif, 158 kilometers from Errachidia, his hometown.
Ouaddou previously donated €100,000 to provide internet access to the commune of Alnif in order to support distance learning.
Ouaddou’s contributions complement the Ministry of Education’s efforts in promoting homeschooling.
Mi Naima gets one year in prison for fake coronavirus news
The First Instance Tribunal of Casablanca sentences the Moroccan YouTube influencer known as “Mi Naima” to one year’s imprisonment for diffusing fake news about the novel coronavirus in Morocco.
Police arrested her in March for inciting people to not comply with orders and the preventive measures that the government put in place to tackle the spread of the virus.
Renault resumes activity
French automaker Renault decides to gradually and partially resume its industrial activity, preparing its two plants in Tangier and Casablanca to adapt and adjust production as the market recovers to meet the demand both in Morocco and abroad.
Renault Maroc will resume activity according to specific schedules for each site and plans to start fully operating by the end of April.
Supporting formal sector employees
The Moroccan government council approves draft law 52-20 enacting exceptional measures in favor of employers who are affiliated with CNSS and whose employees lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis. The law sets the conditions for granting a MAD 2,000 ($200) monthly stipend to employees with suspended activity.
April 18: Morocco extends its nationwide lockdown while cases climb to 2,685.
The Ministry of Health announces 121 new cases in 24 hours, along with two deaths and 33 recoveries. The number of recovered patients reaches 314, while the death toll, at 137, is beginning to plateau.
State of emergency extension
The Moroccan government council agrees to extend the country’s state of emergency for another 30 days until May 20 as COVID-19 cases continue to increase.
The extension of the state emergency will leave Moroccans in lockdown in Ramadan, the holy month when thousands of Muslims convene at mosques to perform extra prayers called Taraweeh after Salat Al Isha (evening prayer).
COVID-19 threat in industrial sector
Moroccan ministries call for cooperation to ensure the cleanliness of industrial workplaces and to enforce preventive measures.
The ministries urged stricter compliance with measures such as limiting the numbers of employees in workspaces and in transit to work, enforcing the wearing of masks, providing handwashing stations, and ensuring proper ventilation in workplaces.
CNSS mobilizes polyclinics
The National Social Security Fund (CNSS) mobilizes three new polyclinics for the benefit of health authorities: Tangier Polyclinic (64 beds), Marrakech Polyclinic (54 beds), and Inara Polyclinic in Casablanca (80 beds).
April 19: The Ministry of Health counts a total of 2,855 cases, 141 deaths, and 327 recoveries.
In 24 hours, the ministry recorded 170 new cases, three deaths, and five recoveries.
COVID-19 in two more prisons
The General Delegation for Prison Administration and Rehabilitation (DGAPR) announces new COVID-19 infections among prison inmates and officials.
Two inmates and four prison officials at the local prison of Ksar El Kebir, south of Tangier, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Three officials at the local prison of Loudaya, near Marrakech, and the director of the local prison of Ouarzazate also tested positive.
DGAPR first announced five infections at Ksar El Kebir on April 14.
Morocco repatriates Qataris
The Qatari Embassy in Rabat announces on Twitter that it successfully repatriated its citizens in Morocco through a Qatari Airlines flight from the Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca to Doha.
The statement concludes with a note to express thanks for Morocco’s help and consideration in facilitating the repatriation operation.
Casablanca police arrest entire family
The Casablanca judiciary police arrest five individuals from the same family, aged 20 to 60, in the southern Sbata neighborhood for violating the state of emergency, showing contempt towards police officers during their duty, failing to obey orders, and vandalism.
New mask regulations
The Ministry of Industry introduces new regulations for the manufacturing of protective masks made of non-woven fabric.
“The manufacturing fabric must, therefore, be free of heavy metals, ensuring breathability and avoiding any irritation or allergy to the wearer,” the ministry clarified.
Masks must be sold in packages of ten units for MAD 8 ($0.80) and not sold individually or in open packages.
Any non-compliance with the new regulations is punishable by a fine and legal action against offenders.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on April 19 at 8 p.m.
April 20: The COVID-19 situation in Morocco includes 3,046 cases, 143 deaths, and 350 recoveries.
In the past 24 hours, the ministry has confirmed 191 new cases, two deaths, and 23 recoveries.
Maroc Telecom contributes to COVID-19 fund
Telecommunications company Maroc Telecom announces that it allocated a budget of $146.96 million to Morocco’s COVID-19 response fund to alleviate the domestic impacts of the pandemic.
Morocco ramps up testing capacity
Morocco is ramping up its testing capacity for COVID-19, conducting 1,263 tests on suspected new cases in one day.
On average, the country performed 917 tests per day between April 11 and April 19.
Analysts have linked large-scale testing to improved control of the coronavirus pandemic.
Moroccan banks insist on determination to curb pandemic
In response to criticism targeting Moroccan banks and their COVID-19 response, the Professional Group of Moroccan Banks (GPBM) issues a statement stressing their “firm determination” to actively participate in the national effort to curb and manage the pandemic’s impact.
The statement came after Moroccan radio personality Mohamed Bousfiha, known as Momo, called bank employees “brainless” on his talk show “Wach Nta F Dar?” (Are you home?) broadcast on Hit Radio on April 17.
Momo made the comment after a participant in the show said that she could not benefit from the exceptional measures implemented for the benefit of Moroccans stranded abroad.
“The Moroccan banking sector quickly became involved in the national effort to prevent and manage the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the medical, social, economic, and financial levels,” the GPBM statement insists.
King Mohammed VI’s pandemic response receives warm feedback
Multiple countries and international media outlets have positively reacted to the Moroccan COVID-19 response model under King Mohammed VI’s instructions since the outbreak of the virus in the North African country.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) welcomes Morocco’s actions, including King Mohammed VI’s recent proposal of a continental response to overcome the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Ait Taleb: Morocco avoided the worst
Moroccan Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb expresses his satisfaction with the government’s response to the spread of COVID-19 and said Morocco’s preventive measures enabled the country to avoid the worst of the pandemic, emphasizing that the “epidemiological situation in Morocco is controlled.”
WHO: Morocco has “the capacity to deal adequately” with COVID-19
“Morocco has done a remarkable job previously on influenza and the [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome] (MERS) and we need to build on all this work now,” said Director of Emerging Diseases Unit at the World Health Organization (WHO) Maria Van Kerkhove during a WHO press briefing.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program Michael Ryan stressed the importance of cooperation between Morocco and WHO, recalling that Morocco was set to host a major international meeting on health emergencies and epidemics earlier this year.
Ait Taleb: Lockdown to end gradually
The health minister says his department is planning to develop a strategy that will help the country to lift its lockdown gradually, after the state of emergency extension draws to a close on May 20.
“The lockdown will be lifted gradually at the national level, since the epidemiological situation remains stable, but differs from one region to another,” due to the different COVID-19 data in each region.
Ouarzazate prison population undergoes tests
The entirety of Ouarzazate’s prison population will be subject to COVID-19 testing after almost half of the prison’s officials tested positive for the virus.
Infected staff and prisoners will be required to follow treatment plans as advised by health authorities. Uninfected staff will be placed under quarantine and required to adhere to strict precautionary measures.
Emergency state arrests exceed 50,000
The DGSN announces 50,136 people have been arrested for violating the state of emergency in Morocco, of which 27,172 individuals went before the public prosecutor’s offices.
Charges mainly include crowding in public and inciting citizens to gather, and not carrying a legitimate exceptional movement permit.
RAMED stipend beneficiaries
More than 200,000 eligible Medical Assistance Plan (RAMED) holders benefit from stipends every day as part of the country’s efforts to alleviate financial pressure on informal sector workers.
Stipend distribution commenced on April 13, and the CVE said it is conducted in full “compliance with the required health standards.”
Casablanca erects largest field hospital in Africa
Authorities launched the hospital’s construction on April 6. The project cost approximately MAD 45 million ($450,000).
April 21: Morocco records 3,209 cases as the recovery rate reaches 73%.
The health ministry reports 163 new cases, two deaths, and a whopping 43 new recoveries in 24 hours. Total recoveries climb to 393 while deaths stand at 145.
Moroccan engineer invents 120-use face mask
Moroccan engineer Alim Berkani has invented a new face mask that serves as a protective tool against the novel coronavirus and could be used up to 120 times.
The new mask is made with rubber and contains two aerators with filters to guarantee the cleanliness of air breathed in.
“I am ready to give my invention to my country, Morocco,” he said.
Foreign ministry releases statement on repatriation
The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it spared no efforts to help the 21,000 Moroccan nationals who are stranded abroad due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown and closed borders.
The ministry said the repatriation process should be well-prepared and the appropriate conditions “must be met so that we can meet this challenge, that our compatriots can return to their families and that the health security of all Moroccans, without exception, is preserved or guaranteed.”
El Othmani promises “special, well-studied” lockdown-lifting strategy
The spread of COVID-19 ultimately determines when Morocco will lift its state of emergency, but the country will follow a “special, well-studied strategy” when easing lockdown measures, El Othmani assures.
The Moroccan government and all decision-makers are studying the optimal method of lifting the lockdown while considering several possible scenarios. It is highly possible that lifting the lockdown will take place gradually and initially occur at a local or regional level.
The government will announce the details of the lockdown lift and the post-COVID-19 strategy when the time is right and after consultation with all the concerned sectors.
#StayHome for Taraweeh
Morocco’s Supreme Scientific Council urges Moroccans to adhere to lockdown measures during the holy month of Ramadan, requesting that Muslims perform Taraweeh prayers at home rather than at a mosque.
Blind community demands support
The National Coordination for the Blind Unemployed Graduates in Morocco sends a letter to the head of government and the minister of solidarity to demand direct support for the blind during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organization describes the general situation of the unemployed blind community as “tragic” and “deteriorating” as they stopped practicing their daily activities due to the state of emergency.
The letter indicates that very few individuals with special needs who have a Medical Assistance card (RAMED), along with non-RAMED holders, have benefited from government support so far.
Unprecedented decrease in traffic accidents
Security services have recorded an 81.05% decrease in all injuries related to road accidents, a 79.12% decrease in severe injuries, and a 65.52% decrease in fatalities between March 20 and April 12, 2020, and the same period in 2019.
DGSN tracking app
Morocco’s DGSN has launched a mobile application that allows police officers at various checkpoints to track the movements of Moroccan citizens and residents to ensure their compliance with the state of health emergency.
The application was initially launched exclusively in the cities of Rabat, Sale, and Temara. The app will later be generalized at the national level.
New measures for the homeless
El Othmani comments on the efforts of social services in Morocco to address the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable people who are experiencing homelessness.
A collective effort between local authorities, territorial authorities, civil society, National Mutual Aid (EN), and the Red Crescent has allowed for the sheltering of approximately 6,230 people in need throughout 145 facilities. Efforts also included reuniting 1,699 individuals with their families.
AFD allocates €150 million to Morocco’s post-COVID-19 economy
The French Development Agency (AFD) announces the allocation of €150 million to support Morocco’s plan to prepare for the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
The allocated sum will be disbursed throughout the next three months, of which €100 million is dedicated to the state budget while €50 million is intended for Moroccan public enterprises.
Morocco extends flight ban to May 31
The French and British embassies in Morocco inform the public of the government’s decision to extend its air travel ban until at least May 31.
The French consulate in Morocco announced that Moroccan authorities have set midnight on May 31 as a potential end date for the suspension of travel to and from Morocco.
The British Ambassador to Morocco, Thomas Reilly, urged UK nationals to take advantage of repatriation flights, as “there will be no ‘normal’ commercial air transport” before at least May 31.
April 22: Morocco records 237 new cases, 24 recoveries, and four deaths.
Morocco’s COVID-19 totals include 3,446 cases, 422 recoveries, and 149 deaths.
Moroccan government bans disinfection tunnels
A joint statement from the ministries of health, interior, and trade announce Morocco’s ban on using and marketing disinfection tunnels due to the dangers of exposure to the products that the machines use.
The statement says that such tunnels could be useful to disinfect devices and products used for the packing, handling, and transport of goods, but not for humans.
The ministries call on all institutions to remove disinfection tunnels for individuals that were placed at building entrances in public spaces and shops, warning, “Any violation of this decision will lead to legal action.”
ERBD loans €145 million to Morocco’s BMCE Bank of Africa
The ERBD aims to help Moroccan SMEs experiencing a decrease in activity, turnover, and profitability due to the COVID-19 crisis to address their liquidity needs.
The funding is part of the EBRD’s COVID-19 Solidarity Package, a response and recovery program mobilizing €1 billion to handle the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.
CNT expects $13.85 billion hit to Morocco’s tourism sector
A study by the National Tourism Confederation (CNT) predicts Morocco will lose over $13.85 billion between 2020 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 crisis if it does not urgently mobilize a plan to save the tourism sector.
Although tourism will likely start gradually recovering by April 21, the confederation suggests a recovery plan requiring a $170.6 million investment.
BCG denies responsibility for deconfinement strategy
While the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Casablanca has and continues to work closely with the Moroccan Ministry of Health and other government entities, they have not been directly mandated to prepare an official strategy to lift the country’s lockdown.
BCG Casablanca says that they will continue to aid Moroccan ministries by providing data and analysis on recent international experiences, free of charge, to maintain a strict framework of national solidarity.
April 23: Total cases hit 3,568, including 456 recoveries and 155 deaths.
Thirty-nine patients have been cleared of the virus in 24 hours, while six have died. The health ministry confirmed 122 new cases in one day.
Non-RAMED households receive stipends
Workers with suspended activities who do not have the Medical Assistance Plan (RAMED) begin receiving stipends.
A ministry statement clarified that the amounts of aid granted per household as well as the withdrawal procedure will be identical to those served to households registered in the RAMED service.
Health ministry holds medical staff recruitment contest
Morocco’s Ministry of Health launches a recruitment contest for over 1,000 medical staff, including 299 doctors, to strengthen the country’s health sector in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to doctors, the ministry is recruiting 852 medical and paramedical staff, including 357 nurses, 271 midwives, 98 technicians, 95 physiotherapists, and 31 social assistants.
Bourita assures Moroccan repatriation is imminent
Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita announces Morocco is planning to repatriate all of its citizens stranded abroad, saying “Moroccans have the right to come home. It’s incontestable.”
The minister did not announce a date for the repatriation process, explaining that the plan depends on the country’s sanitary situation and should take place in the best conditions, without causing risk to the country or to the repatriated citizens.
The operation needs rigorous planning, based on meticulous criteria, and in coordination with several government departments, he added.
Once it starts, the repatriation process will take place gradually, in a well-organized way, in order to protect the country from the COVID-19 pandemic, Bourita assured.
The Ministry of Interior announces that Moroccans will have authorized movement for an additional two hours during Ramadan.
Morocco’s current curfew is from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Beginning Saturday, April 25, curfew will run from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the duration of the holy month.
The move comes “in the context of strengthening the measures of the state of health emergency,” the ministry said in a statement.
Industry minister calls out greedy business owners
Minister of Industry Hafid Elalamy says sales outlets throughout the country are facing shortages of Moroccan-made face masks due to profiteering.
After fixing the retail unit price of face masks at MAD 0.8 (nearly $0.1), the ministry detected several fraud attempts in industrial production units that hoped to enlarge their profit margin by selling masks to distributors that are willing to pay higher prices.
Morocco has produced approximately 82 million protective masks as of April 22.
Health ministry denounces fake news
The Ministry of Health denies all allegations claiming that Morocco banned the export of medicines to other African countries.
The ministry says it has been monitoring the export of medicines and health equipment like any other country to avoid exporting essential medicines with stocks lower than applicable laws.
April 24: In 24 hours, the Ministry of Health confirms 190 new cases of COVID-19, along with 30 recoveries and three deaths.
Morocco’s total COVID-19 cases stand at 3,758, including 468 recoveries and 158 deaths.
COVID-19 response fund amounts to $3.2 billion
Minister of Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun declares the total resources of the Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19 to be $3.2 billion.
Expenses from the fund amounted to $620 million. A sum of MAD 2 $200 million was allocated to the health sector in order to purchase necessary medical equipment.
April 25: The ministry confirms 139 new cases, one additional death, and 51 new recoveries.
Total cases stand at 3,897, with 159 deaths and 537 recoveries.
Prison testing, suspension of detainee and inmate transfers
Morocco’s General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) has launched large-scale testing for COVID-19 at all Moroccan prisons, in coordination with health and administrative authorities.
DGAPR conducted tests on 1,736 people, including 961 inmates, 711 civil servants, and 64 employees.
DGAPR also temporarily bans the transfer of detainees to Moroccan courts and of inmates to public hospitals for at least one month to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in correctional facilities.
Fatwa permits burial of COVID-19 victims without bathing
Morocco’s Supreme Scientific Council issues a fatwa allowing the burial of COVID-19 victims without bathing their bodies to preserve the health of morgue workers and curb the spread of the virus.
Data suggest Morocco may overcome COVID-19 by July 20
The Data-Driven Innovation Lab at the Singapore University of Technology and Design predicts Morocco will reach 99% of its total COVID-19 case count by June 20 and completely beat the pandemic by July 20.
The lab believes Morocco’s COVID-19 curve reached its peak on April 24.
April 26: Morocco reports a new high of daily COVID-19 recoveries, with 56 in 24 hours.
Total recoveries have climbed to 593, while 168 new cases brought the country’s total to 4,065. The death toll reaches 161 after two patients succumbed to the virus.
Reduction in air pollution
The Ministry of Energy and Mines in Morocco records a significant reduction in air pollution and the improvement of air quality during the country’s state of emergency to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The ministry says the significant reduction is marked by the limit of road and air traffic as well as the downward of several industrial activities.
Moroccan National Tourism Office launches ‘Until We Meet’ campaign
The Moroccan National Tourism Office (ONMT) announces the launch of the “3lamantlakaw” campaign, meaning “Until We Meet,” to support and encourage the tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This campaign is an honest invitation to accompany all Moroccans during the lockdown period and to remind us all of the extent of the country’s wealth and it’s unity, that our country is our most valuable resource,” said Adel El Fakir, general director of the Tourism Office, in a video message.
April 27: Morocco reports 102 recoveries in 24 hours.
With 4,120 total cases, 695 recoveries, and 162 deaths, Morocco is witnessing a notable decrease in cases and a significant spike in recoveries.
4.3 million informal workers to receive stipends
A total of 4.3 million families headed by workers in the informal sector will benefit from a stipend granted from the Special Fund for the Management and Respond to COVID-19, according to the minister of economy.
So far, aid has reached 2 million households of non-RAMED holders working in the informal sector.
9,000 Moroccan companies benefit from $373 million loan
Morocco has granted 9,000 loans specifically to companies with a turnover below $50 million. Granted through the CCG’s Damane Oxygene, the loans amounted to $370 million, according to the economy minister.
EU to support distance education in Morocco
The European Union is set to grant Morocco €139.16 million to strengthen the country’s distance education mechanisms and ensure the continuation of Moroccan students’ learning amid the COVID-19 crisis.
El Othmani says COVID-19 may strengthen government’s social orientation
The COVID-19 pandemic has urged the Moroccan government to reflect on means to strengthen its social orientation, says Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani.
“The unprecedented scale of this [health] crisis effectively urges us to think about further strengthening the social orientation of the government … We will decide on the appropriate improvements in due course,” he said.
The Moroccan economy is witnessing paradigm shifts on several levels and what is happening today will not only lead to the emergence of a new development model, but also to new ways of working, producing, and consuming, the head of government concludes.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on April 27 at 4 p.m.
April 28: The Ministry of Health announces six new cases of the novel coronavirus, two deaths, and 39 recoveries.
In 24 hours, Morocco has recorded 132 new COVID-19 cases, along with three deaths and 83 recoveries. The total COVID-19 case count currently stands at 4,252, including 778 recoveries and 165 deaths.
HCP predicts intense economic decline
Morocco’s economic growth will mark a decline of 8.9 points in the second quarter of 2020 due to the developments in the COVID-19 crisis.
The High Commission for Planning (HCP) says the decline would represent a potential overall loss of approximately MAD 29.7 billion ($2.89 billion) in the first half of 2020 rather than the MAD 15 billion ($1.5 billion) loss the HCP predicted on April 7.
The note attributed the potential decline to a sharp lull in economic activity.
US embassy transfers medical equipment to Moroccan hospitals
Frontline Moroccan healthcare workers receive protective equipment from the US Embassy in Morocco in cooperation with the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
The transfer comes in an effort to support laboratory technicians at the National Institute of Hygiene (INH) in Rabat and to help Morocco continue testing and screening for COVID-19 with adequate protection in place.
Good economic prospects?
Morocco’s minister of industry expects the Moroccan economy will have “unimaginable opportunities,” if the country effectively manages the crisis.
Elalamy’s expectations for the Moroccan economy after the COVID-19 crisis are in line with forecasts from several economists.
Morocco says lockdown measures respect human rights
After a number of media outlets printed allegations of human rights abuse in Morocco amid the lockdown, Morocco’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations office in Geneva, Omar Zinber, says the country’s lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 are in line with UN Human Rights Guidelines.
New CNSS stipend request portal
April 29: Recoveries skyrocket to 928 while cases reach 4,321.
In 24 hours, 150 patients recovered from the virus, three have died, and the health ministry confirmed 69 new cases.
EU lauds Morocco, King Mohammed VI
The EU lauds King Mohammed VI’s pan-African COVID-19 initiative advocating for a unified continental response to the pandemic.
EU spokesperson Peter Stano says the EU is convinced Morocco will be able to play its full part in “the collective efforts of the continent” and expressed the EU’s readiness to promote and support such initiatives.
The EU mobilized €450 million to support Morocco’s efforts. The financial aid will go directly to the Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19.
Tailored economic recovery plans
Morocco’s Economic Monitoring Committee (CVE) discusses the development of sectoral recovery plans that will support the Moroccan economy after the COVID-19 crisis.
The CVE also approves a series of measures, including a directive to spread the state budget for additional coronavirus-related expenses over the course of five years, as well as a directive for accountants to include the impact of the pandemic in their audits and the expansion of the Damane Oxygene guarantee program.
April 30: Morocco sees 102 new cases, 56 recoveries, and two deaths in 24 hours.
The ministry of health announces the country’s COVID-19 totals stand at 4,423 confirmed cases, 170 deaths, and 984 recoveries.
Bill to support tourism industry
The government council convenes to adopt Draft Bill 30.20, setting measures to support the tourism sector in the wake of steep losses due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Draft Bill 30.20 aims to limit the stagnation of economic activity and its impact on jobs by reducing the pressure on tourism service providers’ cash flow, keep providers from going bankrupt while protecting the interests of providers’ creditors and customers, and stimulate demand for tourism services and preserve the value of trade in Morocco by avoiding possible payments in foreign currency.
Morocco confident state of emergency to end May 20
Local media citing government officials report that the Moroccan government is confident the nationwide lockdown under the state of health emergency will not extend beyond the set date of May 20, due to Morocco’s low COVID-19 mortality rate.
Ait Taleb: R0 ratio must change
Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb says the government will not lift the state of emergency until there is a change in the “R0” ratio. The R0 ratio determines how infectious a virus is and refers to how many people are infected by a single person.
The minister says the R0 must be less than one over two weeks, meaning each infected person would transmit the virus, on average, to less than one person.
Concerns over increase domestic violence reports
Morocco’s public prosecution calls for a telephone hotline or digital platform to receive domestic violence complaints amid concerns of an increase in abuse during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Between March 20 and April 20, the first month of the lockdown, Moroccan prosecutors registered 892 complaints of physical, sexual, economic, and psychological abuse of women.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on April 30 at 6 p.m.
May 1: Recovery rate stands at 86.4% as 1,083 patients are cleared of COVID-19.
Total cases in the country stand at 4,569, including 170 deaths. In 24 hours, the health ministry announced 146 new cases, 99 recoveries, and one death.
US offers Morocco an additional $5.7 million
The Trump administration announces a new grant of $5.7 million to Morocco as part of its international support campaign to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The aid includes $1.7 million for health assistance to help prepare laboratory systems and to improve case detection and epidemiological surveillance.
May 2: COVID-19 totals hit 4,729 cases, 1,256 recoveries, and 173 deaths.
In the past 24 hours, the health ministry has confirmed 160 new cases, two additional deaths, and 173 new recoveries.
May 3: Recoveries continue to climb, with 182 in 24 hours.
Total recoveries hit 1,438. Meanwhile, cases reach 4,903 after the health ministry detects 174 new infections, and deaths stand at 174 with one reported since May 2.
Economist calls COVID-19 ‘historic opportunity’ for change
Prominent Moroccan economist Nezha Lahrichi has a new vision for the Moroccan economy after the COVID-19 crisis.
She believes Morocco has the capacity to achieve economic autonomy given its efficient management of the health crisis and says domestic industries are key to economic transformation.
Morocco needs to launch “a real industrial policy based on internal resources,” she continues, and free itself from foreign restrictions, such as those the IMF imposed.
“This health crisis has given us a lesson: When we want to, we can.”
Spain commends Morocco’s COVID-19 response
A group of Spanish MPs and politicians commends Morocco’s efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the country’s mass domestic production of protective masks, its Casablanca field hospital, the effective management of the Moroccan government and the King, and Morocco’s swift suspension of international travel.
May 4: Confirmed COVID-19 cases hit 5,000 at the beginning of the day with 97 new infections, later reaching 5,053.
In 24 hours, Morocco sees 150 new cases, 215 recoveries, and five deaths. Total recoveries jump to 1,653 while deaths reach 179.
Fez artists create murals honoring health workers
Authorities in the Saiss neighborhood in southern Fez have collaborated with local artists to create a series of mural paintings paying tribute to the people on the frontlines of Morocco’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the project is to raise awareness about the importance of respecting the quarantine regulations and encourage Moroccans to stay home.
Nearly 1 million Moroccans were suspended from work in April
The Moroccan Minister of Labor and Professional Integration, Mohamed Amkraz, says more than 900,000 employees at 134,000 companies were temporarily suspended from work during the month of April due to the COVID-19 crisis.
During the month of March, the CNSS web portal recorded 131,955 economically damaged companies out of 216,000 registered companies in total. The number of temporarily suspended employees reached 808,199, out of two million in total.
May 5: Total COVID-19 cases stand at 5,219, including 1,838 recoveries and 181 deaths.
In 24 hours, the health ministry recorded 185 recoveries, 166 cases, and two deaths.
Moroccan laboratories performed a total of 4,268 COVID-19 tests, the highest number of tests in one day, including 4,102 that came back negative.
Since February, health authorities have performed 49,570 tests for COVID-19, of which 44,351 yielded negative results.
COVID-19 closes majority of Moroccan hotels
The Moroccan Minister of Tourism Nadia Fettah Alaoui says 87% of hotels in Morocco have closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The state of emergency has caused a 63% decline in hotel stays since Morocco, affecting classified accommodation establishments in popular tourist hubs such as Marrakech, Agadir, Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat, Meknes, and Essaouira.
Out of 3,989 tourist accommodation establishments, 3,465 are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 520 establishments remain open.
The tourism ministry’s plan to weather the crisis will be to encourage short holidays, promote domestic tourism, and diversify touristic products.
400 MREs reportedly dead of COVID-19
The Secretary-General of the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME) Abdellah Boussouf claims 400 Moroccans residing abroad have died due to COVID-19. The Moroccan diaspora is estimated at five million members, and more than 27,000 Moroccans are currently stuck abroad due to the pandemic’s effect on international travel.
King sacks royal guard division general after COVID-19 outbreak
King Mohammed VI relieves the division general of the Moroccan Royal Guard of his duties after the confirmation of several cases of COVID-19 in the corps’ ranks at the military base in Rabat.
May 6: Recoveries surpass 2,000 while total cases reach 5,408.
With 179 new COVID-19 patients cleared of the virus in the past 24 hours, total recoveries in Morocco have climbed to 2,017. The health ministry detected 189 new cases of the virus and two deaths in 24 hours. The death toll stands at 183.
Police conduct 424,072 security operations using tracking app
Moroccan police have carried out 424,072 security control operations using the DGSN tracking application.
Approximately 4,718 police officers carried out the operations in Rabat, Sale, Temara, Casablanca, Fez, and Tangier where the app has been gradually adopted. The DGSN will generalize the usage of the app to cover the whole nation.
Moroccans abroad plead for repatriation
Stranded Moroccans abroad, who have been stuck for nearly two months, launch the #bring_us_home campaign to urge the government to offer a solution for their repatriation.
A number of the campaigners decried the lack of measures for their repatriation, saying the government forgot about them amid difficult times.
Despite the mobilization of consulates and embassies to ensure accommodation and food supplies, the stranded Moroccans maintain that repatriation is the only solution to their plight.
“Morocco forgot about us, but we did not. Bring us home, please,” said some of the stranded tourists.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on May 6 at 6:45 p.m.
May 7: Morocco records its first death-free day since April 14, leaving the COVID-19 death toll at 183.
Cases stand at 5,548, with 140 new infections in the past 24 hours. Recoveries have reached 2,179, with 162 new.
Morocco permits mask exports
Morocco’s Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy says Moroccan textile companies are allowed to export half of their locally-produced masks if national demand is met. As long as the national stock is supplied with 15 million fabric masks, the country will authorize all textile companies to export the remaining products, the minister said, adding that the country must always keep a minimum stock of 15 million masks.
Stranded Moroccans will have to wait for open borders
Government spokesperson Said Amzazi and Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani reiterate the importance of rigorously preparing for the repatriation of Moroccans stranded abroad so their return does not pose a threat to public health.
El Othmani said “there will be a solution” for Moroccans stranded abroad once the country opens its borders.
An estimated 27,850 Moroccans are barred from returning home due to restrictions on international travel and border closures.
El Othmani: COVID-19 is under control
During a press conference, El Othmani said the COVID-19 situation is largely “under control” as 90-92% of the country’s cases are not critical.
The number of patients currently in the emergency room stands at 20%, El Othmani said, adding, “We avoided the worst.”
Morocco’s preventive measures have allowed the country to avoid 200 daily deaths related to the novel virus, he continued.
“We should be proud of what has been done so far,” he concluded.
DGSN launches communication platform
The DGSN launches an interactive online platform to communicate violations of the country’s state of emergency measures to the public. The open platform is part of the DGSN’s efforts to set up interactive tools to establish instant communication with citizens and to involve internet users in national efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The platform transmits the data on state of emergency violations to the DGSN’s control and coordination rooms, allowing officers to effectively ensure the implementation of confinement measures in specific areas.
Barid al-Maghrib issues new solidarity postage stamp
The Moroccan postal service, Barid al-Maghrib, releases a new postage stamp with the theme “Morocco united against COVID-19,” paying tribute to the national effort in fighting the pandemic. The stamp illustrates the representatives of each institution involved in the battle, including doctors, medical staff, police officers, civil protection agents, and janitors.
Prisons rein in COVID-19 outbreaks
DGAPR announces that the number of new COVID-19 cases in Moroccan prisons is slowly but steadily declining thanks to preventive measures. On May 6 and May 7, prisons in seven Moroccan regions did not record any new COVID-19 cases.
May 8: Morocco counts 5,711 infections, 2,324 recoveries, and 185 deaths.
The health ministry reports 163 new cases, 145 new recoveries, and three deaths in 24 hours.
Morocco to benefit from new virology lab
The Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and the Pasteur Institute of Morocco (IPM) agree to contribute to the development of Morocco’s virology research capacity. The formal agreement vows to establish a new medical virology center for highly pathogenic germs that the IPM will use to develop new diagnostic techniques, and a laboratory to facilitate in-house work on virology research at UM6P.
Moroccan foundation constructs artificially intelligent respirator
The Foundation for Development Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering (FRSDISI) introduces a 100% Moroccan artificially intelligent respirator.
The device consists of a breathing generation unit and a sensory unit, in addition to a regulator and a database with parameters that can be predefined remotely.
Ait Taleb: Hasty lockdown end may “cost us a lost”
The Moroccan health minister said upcoming decisions regarding the end of the state of emergency and nationwide lockdown must be well-thought-out, or else they could “cost us a lot.”
“Once the epidemiological situation has stabilized and the index of the virus spread has declined, at that time only we may speak of lifting the state of health emergency,” he says.
State of emergency violations continue
Moroccan courts have prosecuted 65,352 individuals for violating the state of emergency since the law for its enforcement entered into force. Of the thousands who faced charges, Morocco detained 3,106 until their day in court.
May 9: Good news for Morocco comes in the form of 137 COVID-19 recoveries and no new deaths.
Total cases stand at 5,910, including 2,461 recoveries and 186 deaths.
Economist highlights potential for Moroccan recovery
Economist Abdelghani Youmni highlights the potential of public-private partnerships (PPP) and foreign investment in facilitating Morocco’s post-COVID economic recovery. He also warns against Western-style loan-based economic growth, public procurement, and over-reliance on the primary industrial sector. Instead, industrial systems with high added value should flourish, which will help reduce social inequalities in Morocco.
UN FOA lauds Moroccan innovation
Participants of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) webinar voted Moroccan digital solution Attaissir (“Tighten”), which digitizes the processes of cultivation and harvesting of sugar cane and beet, as the best innovation for the protection of farmers and vulnerable groups in the face of COVID-19 pandemic in the MENA.
MTM outlines COVID-19 impact on tourism, details recommendations
Moroccan Travel Management Club (MTM Club) offers extensive recommendations on the revival of Moroccan tourism. The report suggests the development of a long-term domestic tourism strategy and for the government to subsidize travel agencies.
MTM recommends weighting fiscal action, particularly reducing the rate of value-added tax (VAT), to offer relief to the travel agency sector, and widening the coverage of such risks to protect the industry from future shocks.
Pandemic highlights role of women: Minister
Minister of Solidarity Jamila El Moussali said the lockdown period has shown the valuable role that women play in Moroccan society. She stressed that the crisis is a chance to reexamine cultural norms and build a culture that better facilitates Moroccan women’s socio-economic progress and contributions to society.
May 10: Morocco records 153 new cases, two deaths, and 93 new recoveries in 24 hours.
Total cases stand at 6,063, with 2,554 recoveries and 188 deaths.
Souks reopen in rural regions
Moroccan authorities give the green light to weekly produce markets in 12 rural regions, in compliance with sanitary measures. The souks affected by the changes are in Sidi Kacem, Figuig, Tetouan, Khenifra, Safi, Errachidia, Fkih Ben Salah, Boulemane, Settat, Chtouka Ait Baha, Khemisset, and Jerada.
The decision is based on the epidemiological situation in the regions. Authorities reserve the right to ban the markets again according to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 11: Morocco reports 257 new recoveries and zero deaths.
Total recoveries climb to 2,811 and the recovery rate reaches 44.8%. Meanwhile, deaths remain at 188.
Total COVID-19 cases reach 6,281, with 218 new in 24 hours.
Amzazi: COVID-19 is far from over
Morocco’s Minister of Education and Government Spokesperson Said Amzazi has urged Moroccans to understand that the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, warning that the country remains in a dangerous phase.
The official’s statement may be laying the groundwork for a further extension of Morocco’s state of emergency and nationwide lockdown, scheduled to end on May 20.
Interior ministry suspends official after mass violation
The Ministry of the Interior has suspended the head of the administrative region of Ain Chock in Casablanca, following a lack of intervention at a funeral that constituted a large-scale violation of the state of emergency. The mass attendance at the funeral defied the ministry’s March 14 ban of gatherings of more than 50 people.
Interior, health ministries develop COVID-19 app
The ministries of health and the interior reveal the first details of a soon-to-be-launched mobile application, “Wiqaytna,” to track COVID-19 infections. The application will allow health monitoring units to track those who made contact with COVID-19 patients in the 21 days prior to testing positive to contain the pandemic’s spread.
Daily domestic mask production hits 10 million
Morocco’s surgical face mask production has currently reached 10 million units per day, with 23 factories operating day and night.
Morocco has begun exporting its masks, but to ensure the country continues to meet national demand, it has a strategic stock of no less than 50 million masks.
May 12: Morocco records its second COVID-19 death-free day in a row.
The COVID-19 death toll stagnates at 188. Meanwhile, cases increase to 6,418, with 137 new in 24 hours. Recoveries reach 2,991 after 180 new clearances.
Education ministry cancels exams
The education minister announces the official cancellation of all final exams during the 2019-2020 academic year for some levels. Students of the national and regional baccalaureate exams will sit for exams in July and September 2020.
Students will return to school for the 2020-2021 academic year in September.
May 13: Morocco enters day three with no new COVID-19-related deaths.
The death toll remains at 288. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases rise to 6,512, with 94 new in 24 hours, and recoveries increase by 140 to reach a total of 3,131.
EBRD predicts 2% contraction of Morocco’s GDP
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) declares Moroccan GDP will shrink by 2% in 2020, largely due to the sharp regression of tourism activity. EBRD also noted a projected 2% deficit to internal factors, a likely poor harvest, a recession in Europe, and lower commodity prices.
However, EBRD predicts a 4% economic growth in 2021 that could be sustained by non-agricultural activity such as mining.
Industrial activity resumes in Tangier
Textile, automotive, and aeronautical manufacturing firms are gradually re-opening their activities in Tangier to revive industrial activity and to prepare for the end of the health crisis. The manufacturing firms continue to operate while respecting the preventative measures recommended by the Ministry of Health.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on May 13 at 8 p.m.
May 14: Recoveries exceed active cases, and the recovery rate is 50.1%.
With 179 recoveries in the past 24 hours, total recovered patients stand at 3,310. The Ministry of Health detected 95 new cases in 24 hours, bringing total cases to 6,607.
The death toll increases to 190, but the fatality rate remains at 2.9%.
Informal workers receive second stipends
The second operation to support Moroccan households where breadwinners work in the informal sector and lost their income due to the COVID-19 crisis commences. The families registered in the program will receive financial aid, with the total stipend depending on the size of the family.
May 15: Cases follow a downward trend, with only 45 new in 24 hours.
Total cases stand at 6,652, with 3,400 recoveries and 190 deaths. The health ministry reports 90 recoveries and no new deaths in 24 hours.
Morocco authorizes Melilla repatriation
The Moroccan government approves a two-stage repatriation operation of 500 Moroccans trapped in the Spanish enclave of Melilla due to COVID-19 border closures.
Two hundred citizens will soon re-enter Morocco, while the remaining 300 will travel home at a later date. Once the citizens re-enter Morocco, they will stay in the tourist town of Saidia, about 80 kilometers east of Melilla, and undergo a quarantine period in Saidia’s empty hotels.
Trade minister pushes for reduced reliance on imports
Minister of Industry and Trade Hafid Elalamy says Morocco is able to locally manufacture most of the products it usually imports.
The COVID-19 crisis has proved Moroccans only need to be aware of their skills and competencies, he added, encouraging the local manufacturing of all products that Morocco can easily make, instead of importing them.
May 16: New cases outweigh new recoveries, with 89 cases compared to 87 recoveries in 24 hours.
Total cases reach 6,741, recoveries hit 3,487, and deaths rise to 192, with two new fatalities in 24 hours.
Car manufactures resume activity
The health ministry says Moroccan car manufacturers have reinforced security measures at all plants in order to safeguard the health of employees and gradually resume industrial activity.
Morocco to receive HCQ tablets from India
The Indian Embassy in Rabat announces that the Indian government licensed the export of six million hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets to Morocco to be used in the treatment of COVID-19.
Mobile labs head for the countryside
The Ministry of Health carries out its first mobile COVID-19 testing campaign in the country’s remote areas.
May 17: Another death-free day is complemented by 173 new recoveries in 24 hours.
Total recoveries increase to 3,660 and the death toll stagnates at 192. Meanwhile, total cases hit 6,870 after the ministry detects 129 new infections.
HCP warns of dangers of lockdown lifting
Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) releases a study outlining the possible patterns of the spread of COVID-19 after lifting the country’s lockdown, warning that every deconfinement option remains potentially dangerous for public health.
May 18: Morocco extends its lockdown for another three weeks as cases grow to 6,952.
Health authorities confirm no new fatalities related to the virus for the second day in a row, leaving the death toll at 192. Meanwhile, cases increase by 82 in 24 hours, while recoveries grow to 3,758 after 98 new patients recover.
Morocco extends lockdown until June 10
El Othmani announces that the state of emergency will be in effect for three more weeks until June 10.
The extension aims to avoid the emergence of virus hotspots and confirms the country’s priority of protecting Moroccans, he said.
Morocco is still in the “second phase” of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the country is proud of the effectiveness of its preventive measures, he added.
The “R0” reproduction rate must remain below 1.0 for more than two weeks and must be less than 0.7 for maximum safety. Currently, the R0 in Morocco is 0.9. Previously it was as high as 2.9.
Morocco is fitting 190 additional health centers with new equipment to be able to deal with any “unwanted emergencies.” One-quarter of the newly-equipped facilities will host coronavirus patients exclusively.
Morocco should also reach a minimum frequency of 10,000 daily COVID-19 tests before easing the lockdown. Moroccan laboratories currently perform between 3,000 and 5,000 tests every day, El Othmani said, but more laboratories will receive necessary equipment.
“Deconfinement measures will depend on the regions, and they will remain flexible, with a possibility of backtracking depending on the pandemic’s evolution,” El Othmani said.
May 19: Cases top 7,000 but 3,901 recovered patients and a 55.5% recovery rate offer a positive outlook.
With 71 new infections in the past 24 hours, the country’s case count reaches 7,023, including 3,901 recoveries (143 new) and 193 deaths (one new).
Prisoners produce 20,000 face masks daily
DGAPR announces 100 prisoners in 21 prison institutions across Morocco have produced 20,000 face masks per day since May 5 as part of the national campaign to fight COVID-19.
Morocco loses $100 million daily under lockdown
Economy minister Mohamed Benchaaboun says the country loses up to $100 million each day under lockdown. The two months of quarantine will cause the national economy to lose six points of GDP growth for 2020, he adds, saying the loss would be greater if not for the national COVID-19 fund.
The minister calls on companies in certain industries to resume their activities after the end of Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr, to revive the lockdown-stressed national economy.
May 20: Morocco records 110 new infections and 197 new recoveries in 24 hours.
Total cases hit 7,133, with 4,098 recoveries. One person died in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 194.
Arab Monetary Fund loans Morocco $127 million
The Arab Monetary Fund grants a loan worth $127 million to Morocco to meet the country’s needs amid the global COVID-19 crisis. The Monetary Fund says it is considering another loan for Morocco to support a reform program in the public financial sector.
EU agrees on €100 million aid package for Morocco
Morocco is set to receive another milestone aid package from the European Union, of MAD 1.1 billion (€100 million), to support the country’s health sector amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The agreement will support the financing of health activities, as well as the Ministry of Health’s “ambitious” reform plan over the medium term. The agreement also seeks to support post-crisis solutions, helping to make the health sector more resilient in the face of possible future health crises.
Supreme Scientific Council: Stay home for Eid
The Supreme Scientific Council issues a press release asking Moroccans to perform Eid al-Fitr prayers at home due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Morocco to offer better healthcare to refugees, asylum seekers
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the National Council of the Medical Association (CNOM) sign an agreement to improve healthcare access for refugees and asylum seekers in Morocco to fight the pandemic.
King Mohammed VI dons face mask for Laylat Al Qadr prayers
King Mohammed VI presides over Laylat Al Qadr prayers with a limited audience to respect social distancing and a face mask to defend against COVID-19.
Morocco gears up to perform 1.8 million COVID-19 tests
Morocco’s Ministry of Health unveils a mass COVID-19 testing campaign in all Moroccan regions. The campaign’s objective is to conduct 1,790,000 tests by the end of July or the start of August.
The new strategy will lead Moroccan laboratories to perform 20,000 daily COVID-19 tests on average, over the course of 90 consecutive days. The current testing frequency is approximately 5,000 daily tests.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on May 25 at 6 p.m.
May 21: Total cases grow to 7,211, including 4,280 recoveries and 196 deaths.
The Ministry of Health records 78 new cases, 182 new recoveries, and two new deaths in 24 hours.
Round three of informal worker aid
The Moroccan government has already distributed the first stipends, for the month of March, and is currently distributing the second stipends, allocated for the month of April. The third operation will cover the month of May.
More than 4.3 million Moroccan families are expected to benefit from financial aid.
Fighting the virus in prisons
Morocco’s DGAPR reveals its action plan to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Moroccan prisons. The plan is currently effective until the end of August and includes increasing medical examinations, controlling movement within facilities, safely reviving activities and programs, and restructuring visitor schedules.
El Othmani: Learn to live with COVID-19
The Moroccan head of government calls on his compatriots to live with the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it will be a reality for one year or even 18 months. He says after lockdown, Morocco will continue to follow preventive measures as the use of protective equipment, social distancing, and the use of face masks in public.
CVE reveals economic recovery plan
Morocco’s Economic Monitoring Committee (CVE) announces a series of new measures to help relaunch the Moroccan economy after the COVID-19 crisis.
The measures include a business loan guarantee plan financed by the state treasury. To guarantee the loans, the Moroccan government will finance two different schemes: One for micro-sized businesses, small shops, and craftsmen with annual turnovers of less than $1 million; and one for small, mid-sized, and large businesses with a turnover higher than $1 million.
Moroccan ministries will study sectoral recovery proposals in-depth to prepare amendments for the country’s 2020 finance bill. The amendments should support a gradual restart of activity in the various sectors of the economy, as well as create the conditions for a healthy economic recovery.
May 22: Morocco records 121 new cases, 97 new recoveries, and one new death in 24 hours.
Total cases reach 7,332, with 4,377 recoveries and 197 deaths.
In the past 24 hours, Morocco conducted a new record of 10,405 tests, including 10,284 tests that came back negative.
Spain and Morocco carry out Ceuta repatriations
Spain and Morocco agreed on May 21 to start the repatriation process for Moroccans who have been stranded in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. On May 22, the first group of 300 Moroccan citizens are repatriated.
May 23: Despite growing deaths in recent days, the COVID-19 fatality rate remains stable at 2.7% and the recovery rate shoots to 62.6%.
The Ministry of Health confirms 74 new cases, 161 new recoveries, and one new death in 24 hours. Total figures amount to 7,406 cases, 4,638 recoveries, and 198 deaths.
Print media gets green-light to resume operations
Minister of Culture Othman El Ferdaous announces that newspapers and magazines can resume the issuance, publication, and distribution of paper editions starting on May 26. The resumption of activities must be in line with the Ministry of Health’s preventive measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.
On March 22, the ministry ordered all publishers of newspapers and magazines to suspend the issuance, publication, and distribution of paper editions.
Expert: Morocco can become Africa’s industrial, agricultural hub
Moroccan expert in strategy and economic diplomacy Amine Laghidi says Morocco has the potential to become a hub for the transformation of African agricultural and industrial exports after the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 24: Deaths increase to 199 and cases to 7,433, but recoveries rise to 4,703.
The health ministry reports 27 new COVID-19 cases, 65 new recoveries, and one new death in 24 hours while Moroccan laboratories carried out over 9,000 virus tests.
King Mohammed VI oversees socially-distant Eid al-Fitr prayers
While performing Eid al-Fitr prayers, King Mohammed VI adhered to COVID-19 preventive measures by maintaining a safe distance from his small, 12-person audience and wearing a protective face mask.
Construction projects set to resume
After a two-month halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction sites in Morocco are set to begin operating again this week.
Construction sites must comply with health and safety measures in accordance with the Moroccan authorities’ guidelines to avoid major COVID-19 outbreaks, Minister of Urban Planning Nouzha Bouchareb says during a meeting with Moroccan housing operator Al Omrane.
May 25: Fatalities reach 200, and the ministry detects 99 new infections.
Total cases reach 7,532, and one person has died in 24 hours. However, recoveries continue to increase, with 71 new today for a total of 4,774.
Morocco proceeds with early morning Ceuta repatriations
Morocco opens the border with the Spanish enclave city of Ceuta at 1 a.m. to repatriate 37 stranded Moroccans on an approved list, the third operation to return Moroccans stuck in Ceuta. After 300 were repatriated on May 22, another 45 returned in a second, somewhat chaotic operation on May 23.
Interior ministry suspends food aid thief
Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior suspends an official for his alleged diversion of food products destined as aid for needy families. He allegedly took the food aid for personal consumption.
Minister says Morocco rescued 803 vulnerable children since March 20
The Moroccan Minister of Solidarity Jamila El Moussali says Morocco has rescued a total of 803 children in vulnerable situations since the state of emergency entered into force on March 20.
The ministry’s action plan to protect vulnerable children from various forms of violence has mobilized 74 social assistance units, four support centers, and 74 assistance teams.
May 26: Morocco sees two more deaths, 45 new cases, and 74 recoveries in 24 hours.
Total cases grow to 7,577 and recoveries increase to 4,881. The death toll hits 202 but the fatality rate remains stable at 2.7%.
Agriculture develops ‘immunity’ to COVID-19
Moroccan agriculture has developed resilience and a capacity to adapt since the launch of the Green Morocco Plan in 2008, says Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch.
He assures that Moroccan agriculture is resilient to the challenges of COVID-19 and that despite the country’s epidemiological situation and the nationwide lockdown, the supply of agricultural products to Moroccan markets remains consistent and the prices remain reasonable and stable.
May 27: In a record low for daily new cases, Morocco detects 24 COVID-19 infections in 24 hours.
The country’s coronavirus figures include 7,601 cases, 4,978 recoveries (97 new), and 202 deaths (no new). The mortality rate is stable at 2.7%, well below the global average of 6.2%.
Moroccan man dies after Spain denies him repatriation
A Moroccan man named Driss Aboufiras has died in Morocco after the Spanish government refused to repatriate him to Cadiz, southern Spain.
US arranges repatriation flight
The US Consulate General in Morocco is arranging another special repatriation flight from Casablanca Mohamed V International Airport (CMN) to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on June 12 at 2:00 p.m.
The flight from Casablanca to Washington, D.C. will refuel in Ireland’s Shannon Airport. Tickets will be $1,389 for adults and $62 for infants under 24 months old.
Morocco to continue chloroquine use
Despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to halt trials on hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment, Morocco continues its use of the medication.
“Opinions differ, but the bottom line is that chloroquine is involved in viral inactivation [of the virus],” says Moroccan Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb.
Morocco prepares for Eid al-Adha
Moroccan authorities are already preparing for the country to celebrate Eid al-Adha in optimal conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, says Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch.
Morocco’s National Office for Food Health Safety (ONSSA) has selected and vaccinated more than 2.6 million sheep to be sold for the feast.
The main challenge for the religious holiday, according to the minister, is preventing rural markets, where livestock is usually sold, from turning into hotspots for COVID-19 transmission.
The Ministry of Agriculture is closely collaborating with the Ministry of the Interior to “make the necessary preparations,” he adds.
El Othmani exudes confidence
Morocco has managed to “avoid the worst” and will successfully overcome the next stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, “as it did in the previous one,” says Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani.
He says the success of the “post-June 10 phase” hinges on coordination between all national actors, including political parties, trade unions, and civil society.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on May 27 at 7 p.m.
May 28: Morocco records 42 new cases, 217 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Total cases reach 7,643 and recoveries hit 7,643. The death toll remains at 202.
Countering COVID-19 at work
Morocco’s Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Labor announce the establishment of a protocol to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces as Morocco resumes economic activities.
The two ministries say the protocol aims to help companies adhere to health authorities’ precautionary measures, protect the health of employees, and ensure the continuity of activities and employment.
Mosques will not reopen June 4
A false document circulated online containing “deconfinement” measures, allegedly decided by Moroccan authorities, including the reopening of mosques on June 4. Morocco’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs officially denies the claim.
Ait Taleb stands by chloroquine position
Amid ongoing debate about the side effects of using chloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 patients, Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb declares the drug helped in treating patients and prevented mass deaths.
May 29: COVID-19 totals stack up to 7,714 cases, 5,271 recoveries, and 2020 deaths.
The health ministry counts 24 cases, 76 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Cafes, restaurants reopen with limited services
Cafes and restaurant owners can resume limited services. The resumption only allows mobile orders and delivery services to customers.
The Ministry of Industry calls on cafe and restaurant owners to comply with the preventive measures and health rules issued by health authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
When Bourita met Fischer
The US embassy tweets about a recent meeting between Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita and US Ambassador to Morocco David Fischer, showing that the two countries continue to strengthen their cooperation despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Morocco donates to EU’s global COVID-19 response campaign
EU contributes to Morocco’s COVID-19 response fund
The Ministry of Economy and the EU Delegation announces the EU’s €157 million transfer to Morocco’s Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19. The grant is part of the EU commitment and support programs to assist partners to improve health, social protection, training, and education sectors.
Morocco’s oldest COVID-19 patient recovers
The Hassan II University Hospital Center (CHU) in Fez records the recovery of a 110-year-old woman after she spent 26 days in care at the facility for COVID-19 treatment.
May 30: Morocco sees 66 new cases, two deaths, and 130 recoveries in 24 hours.
Totals reach 7,780 cases, 204 deaths, and 5,401 recoveries. The recovery rate increases to 69.4% as active COVID-19 cases stand at 2,175.
Moroccans return from Algeria
Morocco repatriates 300 Moroccans stranded in Algeria. Three flights operated by national air carrier Royal Air Maroc bring back the nationals who have been stuck in Algeria for over two months. They are the first in a series of air liaisons to bring home Moroccans stuck in Algeria.
May 31: Health ministry reports 27 new cases, along with 58 recoveries and no new deaths.
The country’s current figures include 7,807 total cases, 5,459 recoveries, and 205 deaths
Morocco suffers severe blows to exports
Morocco witnessed a 19.7% drop in exports between January and April of this year, constituting a $2 billion loss. With the exception of Morocco’s stable phosphates sales, the country’s major export sectors have suffered from the fall in world demand, the breakdown of supply chains, and the disruption of several activities in Morocco, all consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
MAScIR designs 100% Moroccan diagnostic kit
The Moroccan Foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation, and Research (MAScIR), a research and development institution based in Rabat, has created the first 100% Moroccan-designed COVID-19 diagnostic kit and secured its international verification.
June 1: Another death-free day as Morocco reports only 26 new cases and a staggering 434 recoveries.
Total cases reach 7,833 while recoveries jump to 5,893. The death toll is 205, and 1,735 active cases remain.
Education ministry grants free access to online learning platform
The Ministry of Education launches an initiative to allow Moroccan students to access the TelmidTICE remote learning platform without necessarily having an internet subscription and freely download all the lessons and digital resources on the platform.
Moroccan academics invent new COVID-19 tracking app
A scientific team from the National School of Applied Sciences at the Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech develop a mobile application called “Marocovid” that allows users to track their interactions with COVID-19 carriers.
Draft decree to allow Moroccan officials to work remotely
Minister of Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun presents a draft decree allowing officials to work remotely. The new law comes with the objective of establishing the balance between the requirements of the administration, and the special circumstances of the employees.
Cadi Ayyad announces epidemiology observatory plans
Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech is set to build an epidemiology observatory to monitor local, regional, and international epidemics. The future institution would be the first of its kind in Morocco and would focus its research on virology and epidemiology.
The construction project needs an initial investment of approximately $511,608 and will take three years to complete.
Health ministry launches Wiqaytna app
Morocco’s Ministry of Health launches the COVID-19 tracking application “Wiqaytna.”
June 2: COVID-19 totals include 7,866 cases, 6,410 recoveries, and 206 deaths.
Morocco records 33 new cases in 24 hours and one death — but 517 recoveries, a new record for the country.
3.5 million benefit from food aid
Morocco’s campaign to mitigate the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis has benefited 3.5 million people with food aid.
5 million to benefit from health insurance
Morocco is in the process of implementing a project to provide health insurance and pension coverage for independent workers, says Minister of Labor Mohamed Amekraz. The program targets more than five million independent workers, and will bring the total number of health insurance and pension system beneficiaries in Morocco to 11 million citizens, which translates to 64% of the population.
Swiss embassy in Morocco offers financial aid
The Swiss embassy in Morocco announced its support for Morocco’s COVID-19 prevention actions with a financial aid package of $319,000, primarily to support children, marginalized populations, migrants, and women victims of violence amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Judicial system goes digital
Minister of Justice Mohamed Benabdelkader says his department is finalizing the digital transformation plan for Morocco’s judicial system. Courts throughout Morocco have hosted 1,469 remote trial sessions, scheduled 22,268 cases, and decided 9,035 since suspending most standard hearings on March 16 due to the health crisis.
June 3: Recoveries continue to surge, with 456 new in 24 hours and 6,866 in total.
Total cases amount to 7,922, with 56 new in one day, while deaths remain at 206.
King Mohammed VI orders mass COVID-19 testing
King Mohammed VI calls on employers to undertake a mass screening action within the participatory framework for managing the COVID-19 crisis to protect private-sector employees. The campaign should take into account the overcrowding and the characteristics and health constraints inherent in workplaces.
MAScIR gears up to produce 10,000 diagnostic kits
MAScIR Director-General Nawal Chraibi says during a press conference that the foundation’s objective is to manufacture 10,000 kits before July and then develop a more substantial production system to cover national demand.
June 4: Total cases surpass 8,000, but recoveries are still on the rise.
The health ministry confirms 81 new cases, two deaths, and 329 recoveries in 24 hours. The country’s totals stand at 8,003 cases, 208 deaths, and 7,195 recoveries.
Repatriation of 300 more Moroccans from Algeria
Morocco repatriates 300 more Moroccans stuck in Algeria from the northwestern city of Oran. Authorities developed the list of names based on their “vulnerability.”
Health ministry defends COVID-19 tracking app
The Ministry of Health responds to controversy surrounding its newly-launched COVID-19 tracking app, Wiqaytna. The ministry said that the application uses only Bluetooth technology and it is, therefore, impossible to track users’ movements, and the only mandatory information collected in a ministry server is the phone number of the user.
The data collected is stored on the user’s mobile phone and can be transferred to the central information server of the Ministry of Health only in the event of a user’s contamination and with the user’s consent.
King Mohammed VI extends CSMD deadline
King Mohammed VI agreed to offer an additional six months for the Special Commission on the Development Model (CSMD) to deliver their work given the current health crisis. The new model “should integrate in its work the implications and transformations engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the King.
El Othmani: Mass testing of employees will speed up economic recovery
El Othmani expressed confidence in King Mohammed VI’s call for mass COVID-19 testing of private-sector employees, saying it will speed up the resumption of economic activity in Morocco.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on June 4 at 8 p.m.
June 5: Morocco records 68 new cases, including 11 children.
Total cases stand at 8,071, including 7,268 recoveries (73 new) and 208 fatalities (no new).
Arab Monetary Fund loans $211 million
The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) provides a loan of $211 million to Morocco to assist it in undertaking public finance reforms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 6: The health ministry registers 80 new cases and 47 recoveries in 24 hours—but no new deaths.
Total cases hit 8,151, including 7,315 recoveries and 208 deaths.
1 million Moroccans download Wiqaytna
Despite some citizens’ privacy concerns, the health ministry’s COVID-19 tracking application “Wiqaytna” (our protection) has collected more than one million downloads since its June 1 launch.
June 7: No new deaths, but 73 more cases bring the total to 8,224.
With 49 new recoveries, the total number of recovered patients reaches 7,364, and deaths remain at 208.
Moroccan labs carry out up to 17,500 COVID-19 tests daily
The health minister announces that 24 national laboratories in Morocco carried out a combined total of 17,500 screening tests for COVID-19 in one day. Morocco aims to carry out 1.8 million COVID-19 tests by the end of July or the start of August.
Genoma project determines genetic code of SARS-CoV-2
As part of the national “Genoma” project, a team of Moroccan scientists has managed to fully analyze the genetic codes of six viruses that emerged in Morocco at the end of March and the beginning of April, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Ait Taleb: Morocco has overcome the worst of COVID-19
The health minister says during a webinar that “we have succeeded together and with pride in overcoming the most difficult of this crisis” and that Moroccan hospitals have “succeeded in caring for people suffering from this disease, most of whom [recovered].”
June 8: The health ministry confirms 78 new cases, 44 recoveries, and no deaths as the government announces its state of emergency and lockdown decision.
Morocco’s COVID-19 totals reach 8,302 cases, 7,408 recoveries, and 208 deaths.
Morocco to ease lockdown, extend state of health emergency
Morocco’s state of emergency will remain in place until at least July 10 at 6 p.m., but the lockdown will start easing up on the evening of June 10.
The state of emergency is a legal framework that allows the government to implement proactive measures, while the lockdown is one of the preventive measures the government has implemented within this framework.
RAM devises recovery plan
The tourism minister says Morocco’s national airline Royal Air Maroc (RAM) is setting up a strategy to overcome the damaging economic crisis it faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Repatriation operations set to kick off in Spain
Morocco is set to begin repatriation operations for Moroccans stranded in Spain within the next 48 hours, announces Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita. Repatriation will start with those who have been stranded in the region of Algeciras, then Madrid, Catalonia, and the Basque region.
After bringing home those stranded in Spain, Morocco will move to repatriate Moroccan tourists stranded in Turkey, the Gulf countries, France, as well as African countries. Repatriation will first prioritize Moroccans who went abroad on short tourist visas, as well as those who are in a precarious financial situation or suffer from serious health conditions.
Mobile COVID-19 testing lab deployed to Casablanca
The Ministry of Health deploys a mobile COVID-19 testing laboratory in Morocco’s hardest-hit city, Casablanca, to strengthen the economic capital’s screening capacity with fast and accurate tests. The laboratory is set to perform approximately 600 tests daily and intends to primarily serve private sector companies.
Strategy to rescue tourism, craft sectors
Morocco is working to re-establish itself as a global destination for tourists in a post-pandemic world, Minister of Tourism Nadia Fettah El Alaoui announces, and revive the crisis-battered craft sector.
For tourism, the plan focuses on the preservation of employment, skills, and capacities of professionals in the sector, and promoting the sector’s revival with an initial emphasis on domestic tourism.
Meanwhile, the ministry aims to restructure the craft sector and improve working conditions.
June 9: Cases jump by 135 to reach 8,427, recoveries increase by 85 to hit 7,493, and two fatalities bring the death toll to 210.
The total number of active cases in the country now stands at 734.
Morocco exports 18.5 million face masks to 11 countries
Since May 21, 69 Moroccan companies exported over 18.5 million protective face masks to 11 countries.
Morocco announces phase 1 of lockdown exit strategy
A joint statement from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Interior outlines the country’s strategy to ease lockdown, to begin on June 11. The country is divided into two zones, where measures depend on the epidemiological situation in each prefecture and region.
Phase one of deconfinement seeks to ensure the resumption of economic activities in all Moroccan regions, including industries, shops, handicrafts, local activities and small trades stores, local commerce, and weekly souks (produce markets). Cafes, restaurants, hammams, cinemas, theaters, and mosques will not recommence activities at this stage.
ONDA unveils plan to resume airport activity
The action plan, complete with sanitary and social distancing measures, aims to prioritize the safety of passengers, personnel, and all airport staff and visitors.
No set date to reopen borders
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs admits that while the country has commenced repatriation operations to bring home Moroccans stranded abroad, the official date to reopen its borders is yet to be determined.
June 10: The health ministry records one new death, 71 cases, and 72 recoveries.
Morocco’s virus totals reach 211 deaths, 8,508 cases, and 7,565 recoveries.
Mosques to open in a ‘timely manner’
Morocco’s Supreme Scientific Council says the reopening of mosques will occur in a timely manner, in full coordination with the Ministry of Health and the relevant authorities, and while taking into account the epidemiological situation in Morocco.
Morocco outlines lockdown strategy
Due to the regional disparities in the epidemiological situation, the lockdown measures will differ from one region to another.
The country is divided into two zones: Zone 1 includes 80% of Moroccan regions and provinces, 95% of Morocco’s territory, and 61% of the country’s population; Zone 2 includes 16 regions and provinces and 87% of the country’s COVID-19 cases.
Moroccans, regardless of what zone they live in, must continue to respect health and safety measures, such as wearing face masks in public and avoiding gatherings. Businesses that are based on social gatherings remain closed.
The new eased measures are expected to help the Moroccan economy gradually recover.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on June 11 at 6 p.m.
June 11: Total COVID-19 cases amount to 8,537, including 7,583 recoveries and 211 deaths.
The health ministry records 29 new cases, 18 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Rabat-Sale tram increases frequency
The Rabat-Sale tram company increases the frequency of its fleet operations, complete with trams donning face masks to express support for the national campaign to combat COVID-19. Trams operate at 50% of standard capacity, have hand sanitizer dispensers, and will be subject to regular disinfection operations.
Morocco calls for platform of African epidemic experts
Morocco’s representative at the African Union (AU) Mohamed Arrouchi stresses the importance of establishing a platform of African experts on epidemics to consolidate the continent’s response to future health challenges during an AU videoconference.
CNT’s recovery plan
Morocco’s National Tourism Confederation (CNT) has developed a scenario based on three axes for the recovery of tourism: Saving businesses, preserving jobs, and a strong and effective recovery strategy by maintaining the liquidity of tourism companies.
Morocco sends medical aid to Mauritania
Bourita tells his Mauritanian counterpart, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, that King Mohammed VI has decided to send a special aircraft full of medical supplies to assist Mauritania in its COVID-19 response. The initiative is part of Morocco’s efforts to help fellow African states in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 12: Total COVID-19 cases amount to 8,610, including 7,618 recoveries and 212 deaths.
The health ministry records 73 new cases, 35 recoveries, and one death — in Tangier — in 24 hours.
June 13: Total COVID-19 cases amount to 8,692, including 7,696 recoveries and 212 deaths.
The health ministry records 82 new cases, 78 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Algeria receives 2.85% of Morocco’s face mask exports
According to the Ministry of Industry, as of June 8, Morocco exported 526,050 face masks to Algeria or 2.85% of its total mask exports, making Algeria the second African destination for Moroccan-made face masks.
El Othmani: Morocco will adjust lockdown measures
The new phase of more relaxed confinement measures marks a “critical moment and prime opportunity for the country’s businesses,” says the head of government.
The government will conduct a new evaluation in a week to check Morocco’s progress under the new measures, and to make decisions on further measures in light of the results.
All COVID-19 patients transferred to Bensilmane, Ben Guerir
Two facilities dedicated to COVID-19 will receive all current and future patients in Benslimane, near Casablanca, and Ben Guerir, near Marrakech. The hospitals will offer all adequate treatment, accommodation, and follow-up.
June 14: Total COVID-19 cases amount to 8,793, including 7,765 recoveries and 212 deaths.
The health ministry records 101 new cases, 69 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
King Mohammed VI orders African aid operations
The Moroccan monarch orders the delivery of medical aid to 15 African countries to assist them in their fight against COVID-19.
The countries set to benefit from the aid include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Eswatini, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mauritania, Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Tanzania, Chad, and Zambia.
The total aid package consists of nearly eight million masks, 900,000 visors, 600,000 hygiene caps, 60,000 gowns, and 30,000 liters of hydroalcoholic gel.
Morocco will also send out 75,000 boxes of chloroquine and 15,000 boxes of Azithromycin.
June 15: Total COVID-19 cases amount to 8,855, including 7,828 recoveries and 212 deaths.
The health ministry records 92 new cases, 63 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Ministry of Culture launches initiative to support artists, writers
The Ministry of Culture launches an exceptional program to support cultural actors from the worlds of art and books amid the socio-economic crisis due to COVID-19.
Morocco details strategy to beat pandemic
Minister of the Interior Abdelouafi Latfit presents the government’s strategy for managing all the phases of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He says the plan is based on measures aimed at safeguarding public health and strengthening social and economic aspects.
Morocco repatriates 1,000+ nationals from Spain in one week
Three operations bring home 310, 300, and 318 Moroccans from various Spanish regions, beginning on June 11. Another operation repatriates 109 Moroccans from the Canary Islands on June 15. In total, some 1,026 people have been repatriated from Spain within a week, in addition to those repatriated from the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
Japan injects funds into UNICEF Morocco
The Japanese government has granted UNICEF Morocco $573,804 to support Morocco’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, improve communication on the virus, purchase medical supplies, train UNICEF partners, and prepare for Moroccan students’ return to schools. The partnership between Japan and UNICEF Morocco will also include a communication strategy to inform 10 million people of the risks of COVID-19.
June 16: Total COVID-19 cases amount to 8,931, including 7,937 recoveries and 212 deaths.
The health ministry records 46 new cases, 109 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Morocco begins repatriation of nationals in Turkey
Credit Agricole contributes to economic support efforts
Credit Agricole bank announces the launch of a special mechanism to support Morocco’s economy post-COVID-19 by assisting enterprises in resuming or successfully continuing their activities, in both urban and rural areas.
Deconfinement to allow the resumption of domestic tourism
El Othmani says the second phase of deconfinement will include a relaunch of more economic, social, and cultural activities, including domestic tourism activities, in both Zones 1 and 2.
World Bank: Morocco has one of the world’s lowest COVID-19 fatality rates
“Today, more than three months after the start of the crisis, Morocco has one of the lowest fatality rates (the number of deaths compared to the total number of infections) in the world (less than 2.6%), while 90% of cases are cured,” said the World Bank in an online article detailing Morocco’s effective approach to the pandemic.
June 17: Total COVID-19 cases amount to 8,997, including 7,993 recoveries and 213 deaths.
The health ministry records 66 new cases, 56 recoveries, and one death in 24 hours.
The country’s recovery rate stands at 89% while the fatality rate remains 2.4%.
Moroccan inmates produce 20,000 face masks per day
Inmates in 20 prisons across Morocco are contributing to national efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, producing 20,000 face masks per day, according to the DGAPR.
June 18: Total COVID-19 cases exceed 9,000, recoveries 8,000.
Cases amount to 9,074, including 8,041 recoveries and 213 deaths.
The health ministry records 77 new cases, 48 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Industry minister: COVID-19 pandemic reveals Morocco’s production capabilities
Morocco’s Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy says Morocco could be “an important” piece of the puzzle of industrial competitiveness and production in Europe and that evidence abounds of Morocco’s capacity to not only sustain itself but lend support to its African and European allies during the unprecedented pandemic.
Moroccan lawyers defend workplace COVID-19 screenings
Moroccan lawyers say that the government policy to test private-sector employees for COVID-19 before allowing them to return to work does not violate workers’ personal freedoms and that employers have the right to dismiss employees should they refuse to be screened.
June 19: The national daily case record is broken as Morocco confirms 539 coronavirus cases in 24 hours.
After an outbreak at Kenitra red fruits canning sites (457 infections), Morocco records a new daily high of 539 new COVID-19 cases to reach a total of 9,613.
Meanwhile, recoveries increase by 76 to 8,117, and the death toll remains at 213.
Moroccan government moves some provinces to Zone 1
Casablanca, El Hajeb, Fez, Berrechid, El Jadida, Ben Slimane, Mediouna, Nouaceur, Mohammedia, Rabat, and Skhirat-Temara will be included in Zone 1 come June 25. Areas under this classification are enjoying a gradual relaxation of lockdown measures.
The decision excludes the provinces and prefectures of Tangier-Asilah, Marrakech, Larache, and Kenitra, where COVID-19 hotspots recently emerged.
Does Morocco’s lockdown violate human rights?
Human rights critics claim Morocco’s strict COVID-19 measures are costing Moroccans untold economic and civil liberties due to unsatisfactory stipends, heavy policing, the detainment of at least five journalists and activists, and delays in the repatriation of Moroccans stranded abroad. National and international actors have denied the allegations as the country garners more and more praise for its proactive COVID-19 response.
June 20: Total COVID-19 cases amount to 9,839, including 8,223 recoveries and 213 deaths.
The health ministry records 226 new cases, 106 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
New field hospital in Kenitra aims to quell hotspot
Morocco’s Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit announces the establishment of a field hospital in Sidi Yahya El Gharb, near Kenitra, after a major outbreak in red fruits canning sites in the Kenitra province.
WHO commends Morocco’s medical aid initiative
WHO issues a statement expressing appreciation for Morocco’s initiative to grant medical supplies to 15 African countries to aid in their COVID-19 response.
June 21: Total COVID-19 cases amount to 9,977, including 8,284 recoveries and 214 deaths.
The health ministry records 138 new cases, 61 recoveries, and one death — the first in several days — in 24 hours.
Morocco repatriates more nationals from Turkey
The number of Moroccans repatriated from Turkey grows to 1,030 after operations began on June 16.
Thousands of Moroccans set for repatriation between June 22-25
From June 22 to 25, Morocco will commence repatriation operations using 20 flights to bring back 3,180 Moroccans stranded in France, the Netherlands, Tunisia, the UAE, Belgium, Senegal, and Italy.
The repatriated citizens will all arrive at Agadir’s Massira Airport.
As more lockdown measures ease, normacly is on the horizon for 90% of the country
More than 90% of Morocco’s provinces are set to enjoy even more relaxed measures come June 25, with fewer restrictions on movement; no curfew; reopened cafes, restaurants, shopping centers, gyms, and hammams; resumption of intercity travel and domestic flights; opened beaches, sports fields, and parks; and a return to domestic tourism activities in Zone 1.
Morocco carries out 20,000 daily screening tests for employees
Ait Taleb says the country has reinforced COVID-19 screening operations for employees and professionals, testing, on average, 20,000 per day. The screening initiative is likely to help “make up for the economic deficit recorded during the period of containment to revive a dynamic of activity and to return to a normal rhythm of productivity,” he says.
Amzazi: Hotspots are natural during deconfinement
The government spokesman says the emergence of new COVID-19 hotspots is natural as the country gradually lifts its nationwide lockdown, reassuring that authorities have quickly intervened to isolate hotspots such as the recent 457-case outbreak in Kenitra.
Moroccans repatriated from Mauritania, Tunisia
Morocco continues its African repatriation operations, bringing home 151 Moroccans from Mauritania and 150 from Tunisia. Flights are also ongoing to repatriate Moroccans from various European countries.
Morocco to repatriate 5,000 citizens per week
Bourita vows that Morocco will repatriate 5,000 to 6,000 Moroccans stranded abroad every week, with RAM operating approximately 30 weekly flights.
The airplanes will also start filling 100% of their passenger capacity after previous repatriation flights only used two-thirds of available seats.
June 22: Total COVID-19 cases exceed 10,000.
Confirmed cases amount to 10,172, including 8,366 recoveries and 214 deaths.
The health ministry records 195 new cases, 82 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Morocco cancels 2020 operation Marhaba
The “Marhaba” operation to bring Moroccans residing abroad to the country for the summer holidays will not take place this year, Bourita announces.
Air routes linking Moroccan regions to resume
The resumption of domestic flights in Morocco will mainly concern the major air routes linking all Moroccan regions: Casablanca-Dakhla, Casablanca-Laayoune, Casablanca-Oujda, Casablanca-Agadir, Fez-Marrakech, Agadir-Tangier, and Marrakech-Dakhla.
Stranded Moroccans return from the Netherlands
The first reparation flight from the Netherlands brings home 150 Moroccans from Amsterdam. The flights benefitted citizens in vulnerable situations, including those with illnesses and those who went abroad for medical procedures, as well as older adults.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on June 23 at 6 p.m.
June 23: Morocco records 10,344 total COVID-19 cases, 8,407 recoveries, and 214 deaths as the country prepares to open up.
The ministry of health detects 172 cases, 41 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours ahead of looming relaxations of lockdown measures.
First group of Moroccans repatriated from Belgium
A plane from Brussels returns home 150 Moroccans in the country’s first repatriation operation for the benefit of nationals stranded in Belgium.
Spain ‘ready’ to facilitate return of Moroccan diaspora
Spain’s FM Arancha Gonzalez Laya says Spanish authorities are ready to facilitate the transit of Moroccans residing in Europe if Morocco decides to open its international borders.
“If Morocco reopens its international borders, and “if there are Moroccan citizens who want, individually, to return to their country … Spain is ready to organize the transit of these citizens,” she said.
Botola to resume by end of July
The minister of sports says the official resumption of the Moroccan Football League (Botola) will occur at the end of July, with the first match on July 24, and that training sessions for teams will resume next week.
Domestic flight resumption: The details
The June 25 resumption of Morocco’s domestic flights will affect the routes of Casablanca-Dakhla, Casablanca-Laayoune, Casablanca-Oujda, Casablanca-Agadir, Fez-Marrakech, Agadir-Tangier, and Marrakech-Dakhla.
Morocco to reimburse hajj candidates after 2020 cancellation
From July 1-24, Morocco’s Royal Committee for Hajj is set to reimburse the 34,000 Moroccan pilgrimage candidates who made payments to take part in the now-canceled 2020 hajj season.
Repatriation operations continue from Brussels, Paris, Dubai
Morocco repatriates over 600 stranded nationals from Brussels, Paris, and Dubai on three RAM flights.
Kenitra court investigates COVID-19 outbreak in red fruits sector workers
The public prosecutor at the Kenitra Court of Appeals opens a judiciary investigation into the circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak in three industrial red fruits production and packaging units in Lalla Mimouna, near Kenitra.
The investigation aims to determine what violations led to the infection of more than 500 workers and shed light on any negligence or non-respect of safety measures that led to the outbreak.
COVID-19 cost five public enterprises a collective $694.8 million since March 20
The Royal Air Maroc airline (-$109.1 million per month), the National Electricity Office (ONEE; -$45.9 million), the National Airports Office (ONDA; -$31.8 million), the National Railway Office (ONCF; -$29 million), and the national highway company (Autoroutes du Maroc; -$18.3 million) suffered the highest financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 24: Morocco records 10,907 total COVID-19 cases, 8,468 recoveries, and 216 deaths, one day before the country is set to relax lockdown measures.
The ministry of health detects 563 cases, 61 recoveries, and two deaths in 24 hours. Despite these figures, 90% of Morocco’s provinces are still set to ease restrictions tomorrow.
Prison visits postponed until July 13
The General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration (DGAPR) announces that it has decided to postpone the resumption of family visits until July 13 to preserve the safety of inmates.
81% of transport, logistics projects resume
The minister of transport says work has resumed on 81% of projects related to the transport and logistics sector, which have a gross budget of $4.1 billion and are related to road infrastructure, ports, motorways, railways, dams, and construction.
Passenger transport sector on strike over ‘crippling conditions’
The professional bodies representing the passenger transport sector express their frustration with the new specifications of work, which they considered to present “crippling conditions.”
‘Wiqaytna’ app garners two million downloads
Morocco’s official COVID-19 tracking app “Wiqaytna” exceeds two million downloads in a three-week period.
June 25: The country relaxes lockdown measures for 90% of Morocco’s population as COVID-19 cases reach 11,338, with 8,500 recoveries and 217 deaths.
The health ministry records 431 new cases, 32 recoveries, and one death in 24 hours, but the government remains committed to its deconfinement plan.
Korean agencies donate medical supplies to Moroccan hospitals
The Korean Agency for International Cooperation (KOICA) and the Association for the Promotion of Moroccan-Korean Cooperation (AMACO) donate over $13,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies to Rabat’s Ibn Sina University Hospital Center and to the Association of Health Professionals of the Provincial Hospital Center in Sale.
RAM enjoys ‘historic’ relaunch of domestic flights
June 25 will “remain stuck in the memory of the Royal Moroccan Airlines,” says the director of RAM’s customer service department in response to the “historic” reopening of domestic flights after more than three months of suspended activities.
MAScIR partners with UK company to develop molecular diagnostic kits
MAScIR, the Moroccan foundation that developed the country’s first COVID-19 diagnostic kit, signs a partnership agreement for the development of molecular diagnostic kits for infectious diseases with British company Mologic Ltd.
June 26: Morocco records 11,633 total COVID-19 cases, 8,656 recoveries, and 218 deaths.
The health ministry reports 295 new cases, 156 recoveries, and one death in 24 hours. The recovery rate has lowered to 74.4% but the fatality rate has also decreased to 1.9%.
Media sector receives $21.22 million aid package
The minister of culture announces an emergency plan to financially support Morocco’s print and electronic media with a budget of $21.22 million.
First group of Moroccans stuck in the UK returns
The Moroccan government repatriates 150 nationals stuck in the UK on a flight from London to Marrakech.
Second group of Moroccans stuck in the Netherlands returns
The Moroccan government repatriates 150 more nationals stuck in the Netherlands on a flight from Amsterdam to Marrakech.
Morocco repatriates 150 nationals from Italy
The Moroccan government repatriates 150 nationals stuck in Italy on a flight from Milan to Agadir.
Friday’s repatriation operations to Marrakech serve 917 nationals
A total of 917 nationals arrive at the Marrakech Menara Airport on six flights from the UK, France, the Netherlands, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal.
June 27: Morocco records 11,877 total COVID-19 cases, 8,723 recoveries, and 220 deaths.
The health ministry reports 244 new cases, 67 recoveries, and two deaths in 24 hours.
Education minister checks out bac testing sites
The minister of education assures students and their families of the enhanced security and public health precautions being taken within testing centers during visits to various test centers in Rabat-Sale-Kenitra.
Will Morocco open its borders in July?
Local media report that Morocco’s land, air, and sea borders will reopen in July after the state of emergency concludes on July 10. The Moroccan government has yet to declare an official decision.
UNWTO, EBRD pledge to support Morocco’s tourism recovery
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have pledged to support the recovery of the tourism sector in Morocco, along with that of Albania, Armenia, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Montenegro, Tunisia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
Health ministry attributes COVID-19 case spike to increased testing
The Ministry of Health assures that the epidemiological situation in Morocco is under control and that the recent surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases is due to mass testing operations.
Morocco repatriates 160 from Spain
The Moroccan government repatriates 160 nationals stuck in Spain on a flight from Seville to Beni Mellal.
Moroccan startup designs, manufactures infared thermometer
Moroccan tech startup Nextronic has designed and manufactured the first 100% Moroccan infrared thermometer, as part of the national efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
June 28: Morocco records 12,052 total COVID-19 cases, 8,740 recoveries, and 221 deaths.
The health ministry reports 175 new cases, 17 recoveries, and one death in 24 hours.
June 29: Morocco records 12,290 total COVID-19 cases, 8,833 recoveries, and 225 deaths.
The health ministry reports 238 new cases, 93 recoveries, and four deaths in 24 hours.
Warnings against fake news about lockdown easing
The head of the Moroccan government warns against fake news promoted on social media regarding an alleged expansion of lockdown easing measures in several other Moroccan regions.
Morocco repatriates 155 more nationals from France
The Moroccan government repatriates 155 more nationals stuck in France on a flight from Paris to Marrakech.
June 30: Morocco records 12,533 total COVID-19 cases, 8,920 recoveries, and 228 deaths.
The health ministry reports 243 new cases, 87 recoveries, and three deaths in 24 hours, but the EU confirms Morocco is a safe country of origin for travelers to the Schengen Zone.
Spain sets condition of reciprocity for opening borders with Morocco
Spain declares it will only welcome travelers from Morocco if the North African country opens up its borders to travelers from Spain. If Morocco does not agree to the new condition of reciprocity, the borders will remain closed.
Morocco makes final “safe” list for Schengen Area travel
Morocco secures its spot on the European Union’s final list of 14(+1) countries that will be permitted to enter the Schengen Area beginning July 1.
The list also includes Tunisia, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, New Zealand, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, and China. China’s inclusion is subject to its allowance of people from the EU to enter the country.
EU member states reserve the right to deny the entry of travelers from countries on the list as the policy is not legally binding.
Moroccan airports waive some parking fees for ‘abandoned’ cars
Travelers who were unable to return to their parked cars at Moroccan airports due to border closures and flight suspensions will benefit from special tariff conditions. Parking is free for the entire period after the date the car’s owner was scheduled to return to Morocco.
Morocco repatriates 304 more nationals from Turkey
The Moroccan government repatriates 304 more nationals stuck in Turkey on a flight from Istanbul to Marrakech.
Culture ministry invests in arts
Morocco’s culture ministry is allocating new funding and implementing resources and programs to support artists and mitigate the impact COVID-19 has had on their work.
Morocco repatriates last of nationals stuck in Japan
The Moroccan government repatriates the final group of nationals stuck in Japan.
Taxi drivers protest restrictive measures
Rabat taxi drivers take to the streets shirtless and with chains around their wrists and necks to protest “the lack of responsiveness” to their requests to resume operations at standard capacity.
July 1: Morocco records 12,636 total COVID-19 cases, 9,026 recoveries, and 228 deaths.
The health ministry reports 103 new cases, 106 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Morocco to further increase domestic flights
RAM is increasing domestic flight frequency due to high demand. Dakhla and Laayoune are proving to be popular vacation destinations after months under lockdown.
Morocco repatriates 150 more nationals from France
The Moroccan government repatriates 150 more nationals stuck in France on a flight from Paris to Marrakech.
Repatriation operations to expand to Canada Saturday
Morocco is set to expand its repatriation operations for the benefit of Moroccans stranded in Canada starting Saturday, July 4. The government is yet to announce a decision on the timing of the repatriation of Moroccans stranded in the US.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on July 2 at 3 p.m.