According to the minister, 47% of Morocco’s COVID-19 cases in recent weeks were among workers and their families and friends.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of the Interior, Abdelouafi Laftit, has reprimanded the General Confederation of Enterprises in Morocco (CGEM) for the high number of COVID-19 cases in Moroccan companies and production units.
In a meeting with CGEM representatives, Laftit inquired about why approximately 47% of Morocco’s confirmed COVID-19 cases since the country allowed businesses to resume were recorded among employees in the private sector and people who had made contact with them.
Morocco’s Minister of Health, Khalid Ait Taleb, Minister of Industry, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, and Minister of Tourism, Nadia Fettah, also attended the meeting on Tuesday, July 14.
During the meeting, Laftit stressed that authorities’ choice to revive the Moroccan economy “in no way justifies some [business owners’] negligence of the necessary sanitary measures.”
All business leaders must strictly comply with the measures implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19, notably distancing between employees, hygiene rules, wearing masks, and downloading the “Wiqaytna” tracking application, Laftit added.
The three ministers attending the meeting called on CGEM representatives to assume their responsibility by ensuring employers’ respect of safety measures.
The Minister of the Interior recalled a series of meeting public authorities held with representatives from CGEM, both at the national and regional levels, to develop adequate preventive measures for every economic sector.
According to Laftit, negligence and non-compliance with precautionary measures are a major problem that is hindering Morocco’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister gave the examples of red fruit production and packaging units in Lalla Mimouna, near Kenitra, and fish processing factories in Safi where hundreds of COVID-19 infections were detected among employees.
Laftit stressed that his department will not hesitate to close industrial and commercial units that represent a threat to public health, revealing that since the government allowed the resumption of economic activity, the Ministry of the Interior closed 514 units in 34 prefectures and provinces, including 98 units that remain closed for not meeting the ministry’s safety requirements.
The ministry will disclose the list of units affected by the closure at a later date, Laftit added.
Besides closing units, public authorities will also sue employers, in case of proven negligence, the minister warned.
The health of employees is the responsibility of their employer, who needs to guarantee adequate working conditions to protect workers, both from a legal and a moral point of view, Laftit added.
In response, CGEM representatives expressed their full support for public authorities, expressing their readiness to make more efforts to curb the pandemic, while intensifying awareness campaigns among employers and employees.
The representatives also expressed their commitment to providing the necessary tools for Moroccan businesses to comply with the official sanitary guidelines and preventive measures.