Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Morocco - Corona virus update - March 31

Tangier: Local markets will close at 2 p.m.

In order to avoid congestion and large agglomerations of people favourable to the transmission of Coronavirus, the authorities of the city of Tangier have just announced the reduction of the opening hours of the nearby fruit and vegetable souks and the fish market . They will now have to close their doors at 2:00 p.m. Fruit and vegetable stores which may continue to serve the public as before until 6:00 p.m. are excluded from this constraint. Note that barriers are installed inside these markets to control inflows and avoid crowds.

In Fez the souk closing time is 1pm. Some Fez Medina residents have pointed out that an early souk closing might prove counterproductive as it will encourage more people to be in the streets at the same time, rather than spread out over the day.

While some small shops may remain open after 1 pm, all are expected to close by 6pm.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Corona Virus in Morocco - Update March 30th

Morocco’s Ministry of Health has confirmed 18 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 534 as of 6 p.m. on March 30.


Possible Heavy Rain in Morocco

The National Metrology Directorate have forecast heavy rainfall in several provinces from Monday evening, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31.

Heavy rainfall of 40 to 70 millilitres will hit the provinces of Chefchaouen, Fah-Anjra, Larach, Tangier, Asilah and Tetouan, in northern Morocco. Localised, moderate rains are expected in the provinces of Kenitra and M’Diq-Fnideq, and in Ouezzane and Taounate, a statement from the DMN said.

Gusts of wind ranging from 60 to 70 kilometres per hour are expected in Tangier, the Rif, the plains north of Essaouira, the southeastern slopes, and in the High and the Middle Atlas.


Why are Coronavirus numbers so high in Meknes?

While the Moroccan health authorities daily reporting of infections across the country, they have caused some confusion by reporting on regions rather than individual cities. The figures for Fes/Meknes are third highest in the country after Casablanca and Marrakech, yet digging down into the numbers reveals that Fez has a much lower number than Meknes.

The answer lies in the fact that fifteen people who visited Egypt in March tested positive for the virus. According to the city’s mayor, the 15 people were part of a group of men and women who went on an organised trip between February 25 and March 10.

The Mayor of Meknes, Abdellah Banou, said that "20 of them are currently at the Sidi Said Hospital while four others are at the Military Hospital".

The 15 confirmed cases have all been to Egypt in an organised trip, the Mayor said, adding that one of them had died. After the health authorities confirmed the first infection, the other travellers who were part of the same group were identified and advised to self-isolate and call the authorities once noticing coronavirus symptoms.

Benaissa Benshan, head of the Ismaili Association of Retired teachers in Meknes, who organised the trip during the period between February 25 to March 10, said that 58 people took part to that trip, including him and another official from the association.

"About an hour before our flight landed at the Casablanca airport, they handed us papers, to answer questions about whether we had visited China. And when we arrived at the airport we were not subjected to any examination", Benaissa Benshan said.

The Meknes-based man said that three days after returning to Meknes, a 40-year-old woman started showing symptoms and when her husband called the competent authorities, they told him that Egypt is not considered as an epicentre for the virus. "Things got worse and her condition deteriorated, and she was taken to the military hospital after her infection got confirmed," he added.

The president of the association explained that the health authorities asked the rest of the group to buy thermometers, check their body temperature daily and call if there is something abnormal.

It was confirmed that 16 people had the virus, two are from Fez, and 14 others from Meknes, one of them died last night», meaning after the confirmed cases and deaths were announced yesterday by the health ministry.

The combined figures for Fez/Meknes are now at 88 with the majority being in Meknes. At present there is no definitive number for Fez but it is believed to be 20 or less.


Fez Medina Becomes a Ghost Town as Morocco Passes 500 Infections

Morocco records 37 new COVID-19 cases for total of 516, with nearly 2,000 people in Morocco with suspected cases testing negative for the virus.

The message about self isolation and social distancing appears to have taken hold. The streets are virtually empty and most shops closed.  Walking through Fez is an eerie experience with virtually nobody on the street and an overall sense of tranquility and silence. People are taking care to avoid direct contact with each other.

There are some exceptions. The famous tannery is still being worked by some tanners keen not to let their stack of animal hides to go to rot and go to waste. And there are still young people who don't appear concerned by the instructions to stay at home.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office has suggested the possibility of delivering harsher penalties for violations of the state of emergency if they include acts stipulated in the Criminal Code

Sefarine square is empty

Meanwhile, in Marrakech there are still a lot of people on the streets

The Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech
Place Jemaa El Fna, Marrakech
Meanwhile, in Casablanca....


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Morocco Corona Virus Update - March 29

Morocco is only 37 cases away from entering phase two of the COVID-19 outbreak. Earlier this month, Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb said the country will enter phase two upon recording 500 cases of the virus, and when local cases exceed those which originated abroad.

Fez cases rise to 28
The city of Casablanca has the highest number of cases at 130, followed by Marrakech (76), Meknes (46), Rabat (40), and Fez (28), Sale has 14 cases and Kenitra and Temara each have 12.In the north, Tangier and Asilah have a combined 13 cases, while Tetouan has recorded 13.


Overnight Surge of Moroccan Coronavirus Numbers

Morocco’s Ministry of Health confirmed new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 437 as of March 29.

What is new is the number of screening tests carried out in the past three days. While it struggled to exceed the threshold of 1000 tests for three weeks, the number of people screened now stands at 1813 this Saturday at 6 p.m. Despite this increase, the number of tests carried out in Morocco remains very low. With the strengthening of the screening kit system in Morocco, this situation will probably change.

On Friday, March 27, the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform announced the allocation of 2 billion dirhams (MMDH) for purchase of the medical device and this, as part of the Special fund for the management of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. This amount was used mainly for the purchase of medical and hospital equipment (1,000 resuscitation beds, 550 respirators, 100,000 sampling kits, 100,000 test kits, radiology and imaging equipment ...), indicates this ministry. The acquisition of 100,000 screening kits will considerably strengthen the country's capacity to carry out tests to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.

In other news
Korean company, Osang Healthcare, has signed a contract with the Moroccan government to supply Corona 19 diagnostic kits. Osang Health Care has also decided to supply an additional 10,000 kits free of charge.