The virus first originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has rapidly spread across continents.
Morocco is among an increasing number of countries suffering from an outbreak of infections, with a total of 63 patients as of March 19.
Before the virus reached the kingdom, Moroccan police arrested a number of 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 COVID-19 case confirmed 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. 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.
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: Morocco confirms its 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: Morocco announces a third case of COVID-19, along with its first fatality.
Health authorities release a statement announcing the diagnosis of a third coronavirus case 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: Morocco’s COVID-19 cases increase to six.
The Ministry of Health of Health announces two more cases of COVID-19, 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, 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 Morocco confirms 28 cases, the government 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 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, 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.
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.
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.
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 in 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.
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 a number of 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 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 hands over €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.
Updated by Morgan Hekking on April 9 at 4:30 p.m.