March 24, 2020.
Three stories you need to read today. Compiled and broken down for you by Reporting Morocco student journalists — every day. Brought to you from the School for International Training’s journalism program, Rabat.
Source: Morocco World News
Lede: Morocco’s Economic Watch Committee (CVE) reached an agreement to compensate people working in the informal sector suffering from the economic impact of COVID-19 by putting in place a mobile payment mechanism.
Key Background: The CVE will distribute MAD 2,000 ($203) as compensation for people affected by the shut down of the companies they work for. However, the compensation only concerns those registered in Morocco’s National Social Security Fund as of the end of February. The committee also decided to postpone bank maturities for a renewable quarter. The fund will also cover the expenses of upgrading medical equipment required for treating COVID-19 patients.
Why this is newsworthy: Many Moroccans rely on tourists and service industries for income, sectors that are facing a dramatic decline due to the spread of COVID-19 worldwide. By supplementing some of this income with government compensations many citizens will be able to better maintain a decent standard of living. However, those who reside in Morocco and are not citizens will not be eligible for compensation and perhaps even medical care.
Lede: On Monday evening security services arrested 113 adults and nine minors after refusing to comply with health emergency measures recommended by public authorities.
Key Background: Individuals were arrested while on public roads late at night without having exceptional movement permits. Despite the awareness-raising campaigns undertaken by public authorities to reinforce precautionary measures against the spread of the pandemic, the individuals refused to comply. The adults arrested were placed on custody, while minors were held under control, after having taken all the measures to ensure isolation.
Why this is newsworthy: Newly implemented restrictions on public space have changed fundamental aspects of Moroccan society yet these measures are essential to preventing the spread of COCID-19. If local security services successfully enforce newly established curfews and protective measures the population will substantially decrease their likelihood of contracting and spreading the virus, despite the cultural disruptions they pose.
Source: Agence France-Presse
Lede: The Moroccan health ministry on Monday gave hospitals and regional health directors the green light to start using hydroxychloroquine and related compound chloroquine “in the care of confirmed COVID-19 cases” as scientists urge caution over encouraging results from small trials.
Key Background: Studies in France and China have found that the drug helped patients suffering from the COVID-19 illness, and France on Monday ordered its use in severe cases. However, experts have urged the public to remain cautious until larger clinical trials validate the smaller studies.
Why this is newsworthy: In rolling out the use of chloroquine to alleviate the virus, Moroccan leaders are now following the course of countries like the United States where Donald Trump proclaimed its effectiveness in fighting the virus, despite circumstantial and varying results. The World Health Organization has cautioned its use because it can be misused and possibly poisonous in certain doses.