Morocco announced yesterday March 20th a state of emergency that will come into effect today, Saturday, at 6 pm (GMT+1) throughout the entire kingdom in order to control the spread of COVID-19.
The announcement was made during a joint meeting between the Minister of Interior Abdelouafi Laftit, the Minister of Health Khalid Ait Talib and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Green and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy. The ministers accentuated that the announcement “does not mean halting the economy, but merely protecting our country from this pandemic.”
What this announcement means is that citizens are prohibited from going to public spaces unless they have a document from the local authorities. This will authorize movement for those working in certain administrations and institutions, which will remain operational during these times.
These are companies, factories and agricultural works, shops and commercial space related to the daily living of the citizen, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, medical clinics, communications agencies, necessary free professions, and shops selling cleaning supplies.
The citizens operating in these sectors will need an official document from the local authorities signed from their managers.
Citizens can also go out to buy their daily groceries or medicines in their neighborhood or receiving necessary medical treatments.
The Ministry of Interior explained that these measures are “unescapable in order to keep the virus under control” and called on the citizens to fully comply with them. It also announced that any breach of these mandatory procedures will be punished in accordance with the penalties stipulated in the criminal law.
During the meeting, the Minister of Health Khalid Ait Talib also called on Moroccans to “cooperate and respect the procedures of the state so that we control the virus before it surrounds us.”
In his turn, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Green and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy said that the supply in the Moroccan markets is available for the coming months and that “grocery stores will remain open throughout the entire period we fight this problem”. He adds that the trucks that deliver the groceries to the markets will also remain operational.
Soon after the news of the state of emergency were made public, a document in Arabic and French surfaced on social media titled “Derogatory Travel Certificate” (Photo), as the official document that Moroccan citizens should present to the authorities in case stopped outside.
A Source from the Ministry of Interior stated that this document was issued in France by the French government and that it has nothing to do with Morocco. The ministry also announced that it will issue the certificate today.
Ezzoubeir Jabrane is a writer, teacher and entrepreneur. He holds a Master’s Degree in Linguistic and Literary Studies. He has written a number of journalistic, analytical and academic articles in different fields. He’s worked as a teacher of Academic English at Hassan II University in Casablanca and a teacher of English for Engineering in the National Higher School of Arts and Craft (ENSAM), in addition to a number of other private institutions. Ezzoubeir is a founding member of International Morocco and the founder of Exchange Lab, a language center that offers online English courses for individuals, companies and associations.