While outlets reported the director of epidemiology’s resignation as well as assertions it was fake news, El Youbi has neither confirmed nor denied the claim.
Rabat – Multiple Moroccan media outlets reported today that the Director of Epidemiology at the Ministry of Health, Mohamed El Youbi, has submitted his resignation due to disagreements with the Minister of Health on a number of points, generally related to the management of the health crisis in Morocco.
The claim had gone viral on social media after El Youbi did not present the country’s daily COVID-19 figures for three days in a row. The director’s public absence led many to question his status at the health ministry. El Youbi had regularly informed the public of the epidemiological situation in the country since the domestic outbreak on March 2.
Contacted by different Moroccan media to learn more on the matter, El Youbi reportedly said that he “can neither deny nor confirm the news” regarding his resignation, according to H24info.
In contrast, a senior Ministry of Health official told Le360 that “Mohamed El Youbi has not resigned, contrary to what has been broadcast on social networks.” They continued on to explain that El Youbi did not present the country’s COVID-19 figures over the previous three days because he “needed to rest for a week after two months of hard work.”
“Reliable sources” mentioned an ongoing rift between Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb and El Youbi, reported H24info. As tensions between the two officials developed, the sources allege El Youbi was prompted to submit his resignation letter.
According to the same sources, El Youbi refused to attend a meeting of the vigilance committee, set up by the Ministry of Health. The meeting was held this evening, May 29, to track the epidemiological situation in Morocco.
Many expect that if El Youbi did indeed submit his resignation, the minister of health will face criticism from within his department over his treatment of the ministry’s most prominent figure at this critical time.
The Health Ministry still has not released a statement to lift ambiguity on the matter.
The reported move came in the wake of Ait Taleb’s announcement of the beginning of the progressive repatriation process for Moroccans stranded abroad.
On Thursday evening, Ait Taleb said that Morocco is set to begin the repatriation of 300 Moroccans per week, placing them in quarantine for nine days upon arrival to ensure they are not COVID-19 carriers. The minister added that the repatriation process is a royal decision.
The quarantine period announced by the minister contradicts the recommendations of the Ministry of Health to place potential COVID-19 patients in quarantine for 14 days.
Later on, Ait Taleb declared that his words were taken out of context, saying that the 300 figure was only a technical measure, introduced by a committee as a preliminary number and pending improvement of the health situation in the country.
Correction: An earlier version of this story excluded an unverified report that a Ministry of Health official denied the news of El Youbi’s resignation, as well as the fact that the claim originated on social media.