Review Morocco’s daily COVID-19 updates and the most significant events related to the pandemic in July.
Entering the fifth month of its fight against COVID-19, Morocco demonstrated clear growth in its pandemic response in July 2020. But as the rapid recovery rate seen in June began to slow, infections and deaths surged with each passing day.
On a positive note, repatriations continued and expanded to include more countries, reaching as far as the US and Canada. Domestic flights increased, industrial activity improved, and the country buzzed with excitement ahead of Eid al Adha.
Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that the social, health, and economic crises in Morocco were far from over.
Morocco began July 2020 with 12,636 total confirmed cases and 228 deaths, and concluded with 24,322 cases and 353 deaths.
The Moroccan government reimposed lockdown measures in several cities over the course of the month, and these measures became increasingly strict as Eid al Adha drew closer.
As well, July exposed the economic shocks of the COVID-19 crisis, and the grim outlook for Morocco’s micro and macroeconomic indicators came into focus.
July 1: Morocco records 12,636 total COVID-19 cases, 9,026 recoveries, and 228 deaths.
The health ministry reports 103 new cases, 106 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
Morocco to further increase domestic flights
RAM is increasing domestic flight frequency due to high demand. Dakhla and Laayoune are proving to be popular vacation destinations after months under lockdown.
Public sector hiring freeze confirmed for 2021
Morocco’s public sector will not be hiring in 2021, save for the ministries of the interior, health, and education, due to the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis.
July 2: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 12,969, with 9,090 recoveries and 229 deaths.
The health ministry registers 333 cases, 64 recoveries, and one death in 24 hours.
New field hospital in El Jadida
Moroccan authorities transform the Exhibition Fair of El Jadida into a field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients for the benefit of over 30 people who contracted the virus in the nearby Jorf Lasfar port hotspot.
The macroeconomic impacts of COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis triggered a 16.9% increase in Morocco’s imports and a 20.1% decrease in exports. Agricultural exports, in particular, dropped by 6.3%.
Automobile sales fell by 39.4%, textile and leather sales by 33.8%, and food industry sales by 10.4%. Aeronautics lost 14.6% in profit, electronics and electricity 7.4%, and phosphates and derivatives 1.6%. Remittances from MREs decreased by 12.4%.
Industrial activity improves
Following months of industrial decline due to COVID-19, Bank Al-Maghrib announced that industrial production increased while the capacity utilization rate (TUC) stood at 56% in May, compared to 47% in April.
Royal Air Maroc authorizes mass layoffs
Morocco’s flag carrier decides to lay off 30% of its global workforce, liquidate 20 aircraft, and encourage employees to voluntarily resign.
July 3: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 12,288, with 9,160 recoveries and 230 deaths.
The health ministry registers 319 cases, 70 recoveries, and one death in 24 hours.
Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain shut out travelers from Morocco
Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Hungary will not welcome travelers from Morocco despite the EU’s decision to open the Schengen area to travels from 15 countries beginning July 1, including Morocco. Spain has said only on the condition of reciprocity will travelers from Morocco be permitted to cross into Spanish territory.
Moroccans repatriated from Egypt
Morocco repatriates 152 Moroccans who had been stranded in Egypt, primarily benefitting those with short-stay visas and others in vulnerable situations, including sick and older adults.
Baccalaureate exams commence in unprecedented circumstances
The 2020 baccalaureate exams kick off at testing centers throughout Morocco against the unprecedented backdrop of a global pandemic.
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July 4: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 13,822, with 9,329 recoveries and 232 deaths.
The health ministry registers 532 cases, 169 recoveries, and two deaths in 24 hours.
Moroccans repatriated from Canada
Morocco repatriates the first group of 290 Moroccans from Canada on a flight from Montreal to Agadir.
Repatriation operations benefit nationals in Southeast Asia, Ukraine
Two flights return home 230 Moroccans stranded in Turkey as well as 70 nationals who were stuck in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Ukraine.
July 5: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 14,215, with 9,725 recoveries and 235 deaths.
The health ministry registers 393 cases, 396 recoveries, and three deaths in 24 hours.
Safi back on lockdown
After the emergence of new COVID-19 hotspots, Safi, a city on the Atlantic coast, is back on lockdown. Under the new regulations, businesses in Safi must close at 6 p.m., while cafes must shut at 8 p.m. Local authorities have also banned public access to the beach near the “Assalam” and “Siha” markets in the city’s third district.
July 6: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 14,379, with 10,173 recoveries and 237 deaths.
The health ministry registers 164 cases, 448 recoveries, and two deaths in 24 hours.
278 Moroccans repatriated from Jordan, Oman, Qatar
Morocco repatriates 62 Moroccans from Jordan, 86 from Qatar, and 130 from Oman.
King Mohammed VI chairs ministerial council, inquires on COVID-19 situation
King Mohammed VI and Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan chair a council of ministers to review the finance bill, draft laws, and a draft decree. The King also raises questions about the development of COVID-19 in Morocco, and the health minister assures him that the situation is stable.
Ministry: Morocco helped 45,309 MREs return home
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that Morocco assisted the return of 45,309 Moroccans residing abroad (MREs) to their countries of residence after they became stuck in Morocco due to border closures.
Repatriated Moroccans permitted to quarantine at home
Morocco’s Ministry of Health allows repatriated Moroccans to spend the nine-day quarantine period in their homes rather than at designated hotels.
July 7: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 14,607, with 10,639 recoveries and 240 deaths.
The health ministry registers 228 cases, 466 recoveries, and three deaths in 24 hours.
July 8: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 14,771, with 11,316 recoveries and 242 deaths.
The health ministry registers 164 cases, 677 recoveries, and two deaths in 24 hours.
Borders to reopen July 15 with restrictions
The ministries of foreign affairs and the interior announce the reopening of borders for Moroccans and foreign residents living in Morocco, as well as their families, starting July 15. Moroccans residing abroad and foreigners who are currently in Morocco may also leave the country from the same date.
July 9: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 15,079, with 11,447 recoveries and 242 deaths.
The health ministry registers 308 cases, 131 recoveries, and no deaths in 24 hours.
State of emergency extended until August 10
The Moroccan government extends the state of emergency for an additional month until August 10. Not synonymous with the reimposing of a nationwide lockdown, the extension is the fourth of its kind.
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July 10: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 15,328, with 11,827 recoveries and 243 deaths.
The health ministry registers 249 cases, 380 recoveries, and one death in 24 hours.
Morocco committed to supporting diaspora
The head of government says that Moroccans residing abroad (MREs) remain “constantly the focus” of the country’s attention despite the “special circumstances” of the domestic COVID-19 crisis.
July 11: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 15,542, with 12,065 recoveries and 245 deaths.
The health ministry registers 214 cases, 238 recoveries, and two deaths in 24 hours.
RAM unveils international flight schedule ahead of July 15 border reopening
Starting July 15, Morocco’s national air carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) is set to operate flights to and from 23 international destinations to facilitate the travel of Moroccan citizens, residents, and their family members.
July 12: Morocco’s COVID-19 case count increases to 15,745, with 12,283 recoveries and 250 deaths.
The health ministry registers 203 cases, 218 recoveries, and five deaths in 24 hours.
July 13: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 15,936, with 12,934 recoveries and 255 deaths.
The health ministry reports 191 new cases, 651 recoveries, and five deaths in 24 hours.
Tangier isolated as cases surge
The Ministry of the Interior places the city of Tangier on lockdown amid a surge in COVID-19 hotspots. Local authorities reimpose mandatory exceptional movement permits and reinstate an 8 p.m curfew. The National Office of Railways temporarily suspends trains to and from Tangier.
The ministry vows that it is prepared to isolate any Moroccan neighborhood or city to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Government extends financial aid for informal workers
Morocco’s eligible informal workers will receive stipends for the month of June to support Morocco’s less fortunate households during the Eid al-Adha religious feast, expected to begin on July 31, and ahead of the 2020-2021 school year.
Air Arabia opens 23 international flight routes
Air Arabia Maroc is set to launch flights to 23 international destinations from Casablanca, Fez, Nador, and Tangier, as part of Morocco’s exceptional border reopening.
July 14: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 16,097, with 13,442 recoveries and 257 deaths.
The health ministry reports 161 new cases, 508 recoveries, and two deaths in 24 hours.
Throne Day celebrations postponed
In line with the preventive measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19, Morocco postpones all royal activities and ceremonies related to the 21st Throne Day of King Mohammed VI.
However, King Mohammed VI will deliver a radio broadcast and televised speech to the Moroccan people on the eve of Throne Day, July 29, at 9 p.m.
The King will also host a symbolic reception ceremony on Throne Day, July 30.
July 15: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 16,262, with 13,821 recoveries and 259 deaths.
The health ministry reports 165 new cases, 379 recoveries, and two deaths in 24 hours.
Ferries mobilize to bring Moroccans home
Ferries equipped with COVID-19 screening labs prepare to carry passengers from Europe to Tangier and Nador as part of Morocco’s exceptional border reopening.
5,000 mosques reopen
As part of the gradual lockdown easing strategy, 5,000 mosques around the country will open starting with afternoon prayers.
July 16: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 16,545, with 13,965 recoveries and 263 deaths.
The health ministry reports 283 new cases, 144 recoveries, and four deaths in 24 hours.
El Othmani promotes domestic tourism
The head of government encourages all members of the government to spend their holiday inside Morocco to promote domestic tourism.
July 17: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 16,726, with 14,360 recoveries and 264 deaths.
The health ministry reports 181 new cases, 395 recoveries, and one death in 24 hours.
215 Moroccans return from the US
A flight brings home 215 Moroccans and 35 diplomats and their family members from New York, the first successful repatriation operation from the US.
First group of Moroccans return by sea to Nador
The first ferry from Europe transports more than 1,000 passengers and 400 vehicles from Sete, France to Nador, Morocco.
Eid al Adha preparations underway
The Ministry of the Interior begins preparing for the upcoming Eid al Adha religious feast with a set of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday.
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July 18: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 17,015, with 14,620 recoveries and 269 deaths.
The health ministry reports 289 new cases, 260 recoveries, and five deaths in 24 hours.
July 19: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 17,236, with 14,921 recoveries and 273 deaths.
The health ministry reports 221 new cases, 301 recoveries, and four deaths in 24 hours.
El Othmani: No decision yet on complete reopening of borders
The head of government says Morocco has still has not decided on when it will completely reopen borders.
El Othmani: Limit travel during Eid al Adha
After encouraging domestic tourism, the head of government is now advising Moroccans to limit travel during the upcoming Eid al Adha holiday (July 31) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Seasonal workers arrive from Spain
The first group of seasonal Moroccan workers who have been stuck in Spain since the end of the harvesting season in May arrives by ferry in Tangier.
July 20: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 17,562, with 15,132 recoveries and 276 deaths.
The health ministry reports 326 new cases, 211 recoveries, and three deaths in 24 hours.
Morocco enters phase three of gradual lockdown lifting
The third phase of Morocco’s strategy to gradually ease lockdown measures begins.
New measures include allowing tourist establishments to operate at 100% capacity, public transport to operate at 75% capacity, and cultural institutions to operate at 50% capacity.
Gatherings of less than 20 people are permitted. However, weddings, cinemas, public pools, and funerals are still prohibited or closed.
Sports gatherings may take place with official authorization and without public attendance.
The government warns it will take action to reimpose lockdown on any city or neighborhood in case of local COVID-19 outbreaks.
Final approval for amended 2020 Finance Bill
Morocco’s House of Representatives reapproves the amended 2020 Finance Bill, along with six legal texts to improve Moroccans’ quality of life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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July 21: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 17,742, with 15,389 recoveries and 280 deaths.
The health ministry reports 180 new cases, 257 recoveries, and four deaths in 24 hours.
July 22: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 17,962, with 15,636 recoveries and 285 deaths.
The health ministry reports 220 new cases, 247 recoveries, and five deaths in 24 hours.
Court to prosecute those responsible for Lalla Mimouna COVID-19 outbreak
The Court of First Instance of Souk Larbaa El Gharb will prosecute certain individuals for their involvement in the COVID-19 outbreak at red fruit production units in Lalla Mimouna. The June 19 outbreak infected more than 500 workers.
July 23: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 18,264, with 15,872 recoveries and 292 deaths.
The health ministry reports 302 new cases, 236 recoveries, and seven deaths in 24 hours.
Mandatory guidelines for Eid al Adha
The ministries of health and the interior issue mandatory guidelines that Moroccan families, butchers, and managers of souks where livestock are sold must adhere to during the upcoming Eid Al Adha celebrations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Grim economic outlook for 2020: Unemployment, slashed tourism, recession
The Ministry of Labor expects that Morocco could lose up to 712,000 jobs this year due to COVID-19. Unemployment may rise to 14.8%.
A Moroccan tourism expert believes Morocco risks losing 10.5 million tourists in 2020.
The minister of economy outlines three shocks that will hit Morocco’s economy hard: Two years of drought, the stagnation of economic activity due to COVID-19, and a global recession.
July 24: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 18,834, with 16,100 recoveries and 299 deaths.
The health ministry reports 570 new cases, 228 recoveries, and seven deaths in 24 hours.
Ministry of Islamic Affairs: Perform Eid al Adha prayers at home
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs prohibits Eid al Adha prayers at mosques as part of the preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. While some mosques are open, Muslims should pray at home as they did during Ramadan.
Health minister acknowledges rise in COVID-19 cases, severe symptoms, deaths
“There is no genetic mutation in the COVID-19 virus,” the minister of health assures. Moroccans are concerned after the recent increase in cases, patients with severe symptoms, and related deaths. The health minister, however, attributes this trend to a lack of compliance with preventive measures.
July 25: A new record as total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 19,645, with 16,282 recoveries and 305 deaths.
The health ministry reports 811 new cases — a new daily record — as well as 182 recoveries and six deaths in 24 hours.
Face masks are mandatory
The Ministry of the Interior says it is still compulsory for all individuals to wear protective face masks anywhere outside of the home, despite the easing of lockdown measures.
July 26: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 20,278, with 16,438 recoveries and 313 deaths.
The health ministry reports 633 new cases, 156 recoveries, and eight deaths in 24 hours.
Reimposing total lockdown still on the table
The minister of health warns that reimposing total lockdown in Morocco remains an option to rein in COVID-19 if Moroccans continue to demonstrate a lack of respect for preventive measures.
Travel suspended to, from eight major cities
Travel to and from Tangier, Tetouan, Fez, Meknes, Casablanca, Berrechid, Settat, and Marrakech is prohibited, effective at midnight.
The interior ministry references a “worrying” epidemiological situation in the concerned regions.
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July 27: Total COVID-19 cases in Morocco increase to 20,887, with 16,553 recoveries and 316 deaths.
The health ministry reports 609 new cases, 115 recoveries, and three deaths in 24 hours.
Minister: ‘We know you are angry,’ but ‘we have no choice’
During a press conference, the health minister backs up the sudden travel suspension announced the night before.
“We know that citizens are angry. But let me tell you that the virus does not give a deadline. We don’t have any choice but fighting the spread of COVID-19 with proactive measures,” he said.
Fez authorities reimpose strict measures as COVID-19 spreads
Local authorities in Fez announce strict new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. The new measures will prevent shops, cafes, and hair salons from operating beyond evening hours.
Fatal car accidents pile up
Amid the chaos that followed the sudden decision to suspend travel to and from eight major cities, Moroccan highways witnessed unprecedented traffic jams and a worrying number of fatal accidents.
On July 26 and 27, the Ministry of Transport recorded 199 traffic accidents, of which 15 were fatal. However, the ministry insists these figures are not unusual compared to 2018 and 2019 data.
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July 28: Morocco records 21,387 COVID-19 cases, 17,066 recoveries, and 327 deaths.
The health ministry reports 500 new cases, 513 recoveries, and 11 deaths in 24 hours.
July 29: Morocco records 22,213 COVID-19 cases, 17,125 recoveries, and 334 deaths.
The health ministry reports 826 new cases — a new record — 59 recoveries, and seven deaths in 24 hours.
Closure of livestock markets for COVID-19 violations
Ahead of Eid al Adha, Moroccan authorities close seven livestock markets for failing to comply with sanitary measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
King Mohammed VI announces $12.9 billion stimulus plan
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July 30: Morocco records 23,259 COVID-19 cases, 17,311 recoveries, and 346 deaths.
The health ministry reports 1,046 new cases — another new record — 186 recoveries, and 12 deaths in 24 hours.
Eid al Adha: ONSSA ramps up food safety measures
Morocco’s National Food Safety Authority (ONSSA) announces that it has established a set of measures to ensure Eid al Adha takes place under the best possible conditions.
Moroccans return from Nigeria
Morocco facilitates the return of 20 Moroccans who were stranded in Nigeria.
July 31: Morocco records 24,322 COVID-19 cases, 17,658 recoveries, and 353 deaths.
The health ministry reports 1,063 new cases — yet another new record — 347 recoveries, and seven deaths in 24 hours.
Morocco celebrates Eid al Adha
The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, but many Eid Al Adha festivities are in full swing—of course, with the weight of preventive measures. Muslims must pray at home, families should avoid unnecessary travel, and butchers have to receive special authorization for the slaughter. Regardless, households and authorities alike strive to carry on with the holiday and stay as safe as possible.
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Find our complete timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Morocco here.