The head of government commended Moroccans’ hard work and solidarity throughout the pandemic during a national COVID-19 update this evening.
Rabat – Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani held a press conference today to discuss the developments of the COVID-19 situation in Morocco, expressing his satisfaction with the country’s response to the crisis and its progress in tackling the pandemic so far.
He thanked Morocco’s military, security services, and public and private sector workers for their patriotism and solidarity during the health crisis.
“We avoided the worst,” he said, adding that 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, thanking all Moroccan medical staff for their hard work and selflessness.
While Morocco is taking notes on other countries’ management of the pandemic, the head of government believes the North African country should be proud of its resources and research that have kept the fatality rate exceptionally low. At present, Morocco has a 3.3% COVID-19 fatality rate.
The head of government said the country is doing well in its COVID-19 response thanks to the support of its people, which “helped us to avoid the worst.” Morocco’s preventive measures have allowed the country to avoid 200 daily deaths related to the novel virus, he said.
Some Moroccans have violated the measures prescribed under the state of emergency, the head of government said, but the majority of people are respecting the lockdown.
The world is confused and the virus is tricky, he added, but the country progresses in its efforts to avoid the spread of COVID-19 every day.
El Othmani urged Moroccans to remain patient in order to allow the country to sufficiently overcome the public health crisis.
Mitigating negative repercussions
El Othmani said the primary aims of King Mohammed VI’s Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19 are to bolster the health sector with sufficient medical equipment and to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic.
He condemned fake news accusing the government of using the fund to support private education. The billions of dirhams, he said, are dedicated to supporting healthcare services and the workers and businesses negatively impacted by the state of emergency.
Regarding Morocco’s adoption of remote learning, the head of government celebrated education professionals and their successful efforts in enabling the continuation of studies.
Not all Moroccan students have been able to utilize distance education tools, El Othmani said, but there will be no blank year, as most students have now completed 70% of their school year through a combination of in-person and remote studies.
The competent committees are studying measures for administering exams, he added.
The head of government went on to address the suspension of economic activities, saying 62% of businesses are directly impacted by lockdown measures.
Morocco’s economy, particularly the tourism sector, will face severe challenges due to COVID-19.
“It is hard to forecast the true economic impact of the pandemic,” El Othmani said.
The government is doing its best to mitigate the negative repercussions of the crisis, he maintained.
Despite the setbacks, El Othmani says Morocco should be proud of its national markets and textile companies for supplying the population with essential food products and supplies, such as protective face masks, at affordable costs.
Repatriation of Moroccans stranded abroad
El Othmani reiterated the foreign ministry’s position on repatriating Moroccans stranded abroad and said the government is working on a solution to bring home compatriots.
The situation of stranded tourists is a priority, he explained, saying he has been following their cases closely and they will be eligible for repatriation once Morocco reopens its borders.
Approximately 27,850 nationals are stranded abroad, and Morocco’s diplomatic representations are doing their best to accommodate those in need, as well as meet the requests of Moroccans residing abroad (MREs).
El Othmani assured repatriation will happen, but proper conditions must be met to preserve public health.
Finally, the head of government said the primary lesson learned from the pandemic is that Moroccans are patriotic and resilient in the face of crisis. All sectors are mobilized in the battle against COVID-19, and once Morocco sufficiently treats those suffering from the virus, the government will announce a coherent structure and strategy for lifting the lockdown and managing the pandemic’s aftermath.
“We will make it to the end with solidarity, mobilization, and support, and through strict preventive measures,” he said.
“We should be proud of what has been done so far.”