Morocco’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic is not only receiving applause from Moroccan citizens.
By Safaa Kasraoui and Morgan Hekking
Rabat – Spain’s largest daily El Pais published a lengthy article today, March 22, in celebration of Morocco’s measures to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and mitigate its social and economic impacts.
The Spanish outlet commended Morocco’s suspension of intercity public transport, international and domestic flights, and events and public gatherings, all under the umbrella of the recently-actioned state of emergency.
While Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez proclaimed on Saturday that Spain has the “world’s toughest measures” in terms of confinement, El Pais argued that Morocco put in place “more expeditious regulations.”
Under the state of emergency, which entered into force on March 20, citizens and residents of Morocco are required to carry exceptional movement permits stamped and signed by local authorities before going to work or buying groceries.
“This Saturday, Morocco was at the top of the list of countries who have adopted the most confinement measures in their fight against the coronavirus,” the outlet remarked. “Not even China implemented something like this in all of its territory.”
El Pais went on to criticize China, where the virus first appeared in December 2019, for leaving public transportation operational in large cities.
Although Morocco has confirmed far fewer COVID-19 infections than Spain, “the North African country did not hesitate to take bold actions to protect its 34 million inhabitants,” El Pais continued.
After confirming a mere eight cases of the virus by March 13, Morocco closed its borders with the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to all but foreign tourists leaving Moroccan territory, the outlet added.
El Pais lauded the Moroccan state for proactively suspending all international flights, leaving only those “strictly necessary” to repatriate stranded tourists, long before declaring a state of emergency.
The article constitutes recognition of Morocco’s actions in the face of the pandemic, touching on every step the country took in its fight against COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health considers the epidemic in Morocco to be in its first phase, as the majority of cases originated abroad or through contact with a carrier who became infected abroad.
However, Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb reported the appearance of local infections on March 18. Morocco’s Ministry of Interior proceeded to declare a state of emergency after confirming the country’s 63rd case.
The coming days will be crucial in COVID-19’s epidemiological development, Ait Taleb warned, urging all citizens and residents to stay home and respect hygienic instructions to avoid contracting and transmitting the virus.