Photo Credit: Morocco World News
April 1, 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: Moroccan World News
Lede: Two centers in the city of Safi, 157 kilometers from Marrakech, have welcomed over 78 homeless people to defend them from the rapid spread of COVID-19.
Key background: The local authorities of Safi launched the initiative with the Provincial Delegation for National Assistance and the Al Bir Wal Ihssan Association after Morocco declared a state of health emergency.
Why this is newsworthy: Amid the largely negative and wide spread COVID-19 coverage, the initiative in Safi is a positive change that has the potential to be long lasting and could be repeated in other cities in Morocco. Not only are the homeless of Safi being protected from the effects of the virus, but they are also benefiting from social services that had not previously existed.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Lede: The events are similar. Morocco’s foreign minister, Nasser Bourita, appears alongside one of his African counterparts smiling, cutting a ribbon, or solemnly unveiling a plaque — a symbol of friendship between their countries. With each act of solidarity, a diplomatic step is taken and another African nation opens a consulate in Western Sahara.
Nutgraf: This is happening amid the decades-long hostilities in Western Sahara. In 1975, Morocco occupied the area on the Atlantic coast of northwest Africa. More than 40 years after the left-wing liberation group Polisario Front started an armed struggle for a self-determined state of Western Sahara, the Moroccan occupation shows no signs of ending.
Why this is newsworthy: Before the COVID-19 lockdown in Morocco one of the largest recurring news stories was the opening of embassies within the Western Sahara to cement Moroccan claim to the land. When virus coverage is the main focus of the news cycle, other news stories can fall out of public awareness, reducing oversight of government action. This article serves as a reminder of Moroccan political goals and some of the underlying reasons to maintain control of the Western Sahara, namely access to resources like fishing rights.
Source: Middle East Online
Lede: Morocco entered stage 2 of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, announced Monday Mohamed el Youbi, director of epidemiology and disease control as The North African country is grappling to boost its medical equipment in its fight against the outbreak.
Key Background: Morocco’s health ministry reported Tuesday as of 1 pm it had 574 confirmed infections with 33 deaths and 15 cured patients.
The government used 2 billion dirhams ($200 million) from the special fund dedicated to the fight against the pandemic to buy 1,000 resuscitation beds, 550 respirators, 100,000 sampling kits, 100,000 test kits and radiology and imaging equipment, according to a statement issued by the ministry of economy and finance.
Why this is newsworthy: The article summarizes where Morocco stands in terms of the pandemic at the current moment and what is on the horizon. Despite the lockdown enacted March 20th, infections in Morocco have continued to increase amid calls for wider testing for the virus. But the funds devoted to medical supplies and the continuation of early enacted policies like the curfew bodes well for Morocco’s future.