It is true that in times of crisis and disasters, people come together, comfort each other and unite against common threats. In Morocco, the coronavirus pandemic has triggered unprecedented acts of solidarity, and generosity, bringing out the best of Moroccan people.
As most Moroccans are staying at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, caregivers, store clerks, utility workers, cleaners… have become the new heroes of society.
They are on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which has reshaped people’s daily lives at home and work, enabling them to rethink how they protect themselves and what they value most.
As a token of appreciation for their sacrifice, several hotels in Casablanca, Marrakech, Tangiers, Tinghir …offer free stays for the doctors and paramedics as well as for the security agents, while some restaurants and firms are giving free food, bottled water, goods, medical products and masks.
A local car-maker has donated 50 ambulances to the Moroccan authorities to help them cope with the coronavirus, while a group of companies donated tons of food products including UHT milk, oil, sugar, tea, juice, couscous, flour, pastas….
All these donated products will be delivered to the poor families and those who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 lockdown under the supervision of the local authorities.
Some volunteers are getting groceries or making meals for elderly people and those with disabilities who bear the brunt of the health crisis but sometimes, small acts such as a phone call can appease those who are anxious during these tumultuous times.
As soon as Morocco’s king Mohammed VI ordered on March 15 the setting up of $1 billion Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19, donations started to pour in from public and private companies, banks, charities, MPs, Govt members, politicians, businessmen, senior officials, celebrities, artists, sportsmen…
The funds raised, which have so far exceeded $3 billion, will help to improve health infrastructure and alleviate the pandemic’s social and economic impact.
On Friday, Moroccan authorities earmarked $200 million for the purchase of 1000 intensive care beds, 550 ventilators, 100,000 testing kits, 100,000 collection kits, imaging and scanning devices, pharmaceutical products and other equipment key to treating coronavirus cases.
Stipends ranging from $80 to $120 will be paid to every head of a household operating in the informal sector whose activity was impacted by the lockdown to contain the virus.
For their part, the workers, who are affiliated with the social security fund (CNSS) and who lost their job after the lockdown, will receive $100 for March and a monthly allowance of $200 from April to June.
Moroccan King’s swift response and comprehensive socioeconomic relief measures taken to mitigate the fallout of covid-19 were hailed worldwide.
Spanish media outlet El Pais published recently a long article lauding Morocco’s efforts and highlighting the country’s quick response.
El Pais said Morocco was at the top of the list of countries to quickly introduce tightened measures, including confinement.
The combined exceptional precautionary and relief measures adopted by Morocco make all the difference for those cooped up in their homes. It seems that some good things will ultimately come out of the covid-19 home confinement, which has allowed family members to band together, reconnect with each other and rediscover themselves.
And as long as all components of Moroccan society continue to pull together, showing solidarity and generous self-denial, they will certainly get through this difficult situation.