King Mohammed VI has deplored the surge of COVID-19 infections in recent weeks in Morocco, mainly due to the laxity of some citizens and warned that an increase in the number of infections and fatalities might compel the Kingdom to resort again to a complete lockdown and that the deterioration of the health situation today is unfortunate and does not leave much room for optimism.
The monarch noted that the behavior on the part of some people runs counter to the values of patriotism and the spirit of solidarity, for patriotism requires, first and foremost, that we care for the well-being and safety of others. As for solidarity, it is not limited to financial support. In a context such as this one, it implies, above all, a commitment not to spread the infection among people.
In a speech he delivered Thursday evening to mark the 67th anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People and that he focused on the COVID-16 pandemic, King Mohammed VI pointed out that “despite the efforts made so far, we have not yet won the battle against this epidemic,” and that the times are difficult, unprecedented for everyone.
The Monarch recalled that Morocco was cited as an example for complying with the preventive measures taken and for the positive results achieved during the lockdown period, as these measures resulted in the low number of deaths and the small number of infections compared to many other countries.
Deploring that with the lifting of the lockdown, the number of infections has increased significantly, the King explained among the many reasons for this surge the fact that many people do not respect the protective measures advocated by the government authorities, and which include the wearing of masks, social distancing, hygiene and the use of disinfectants.
Had hygiene and cleaning supplies not been available on the market, or had they been expensive, such behavior might have been understandable. However, the government authorities have made sure these materials are abundantly available and are very reasonably priced.
The State has also subsidized facemasks and encouraged their manufacturing in Morocco so they can be accessible to all, the Monarch pointed out.
Among other reasons, the fact that “there are people who claim that this epidemic does not exist. There are those who believe that the lifting of the lockdown means the epidemic is over, while others are behaving in an unacceptably lax and careless way.”
It must be emphasized, in this regard, that the disease is very much real. Those who claim otherwise are not only putting themselves in harm’s way, but they are also endangering the lives of their relatives and of others.
It should be noted that in some patients, symptoms appear after 10 or more days. What is more, many infected individuals are asymptomatic. This increases the risk of spreading the infection and therefore requires greater vigilance.
The Monarch who insisted on the need to show patriotism and a spirit of solidarity, and to care for the well-being and safety of others, noted that solidarity is not limited to financial support. “In a context such as this one, it implies, above all, a commitment not to spread the infection among people.”
Moreover, such conduct undermines government efforts – those which have enabled us, by the Grace of the Almighty, to provide assistance to many families that have lost their livelihoods.
However, that assistance cannot last forever, for the State has already exceeded the means and resources available to it.
With the relaxation of the lockdown, a number of preventive measures were taken to preserve the safety of the citizens and curb the spread of the epidemic. Nonetheless, we have been surprised to note an upsurge in infections.
“The deterioration of the health situation today is unfortunate and does not leave much room for optimism. Whoever tells you otherwise – Dear Citizens – is simply lying to you,” the Monarch warned.
Once the lockdown was lifted, the numbers of confirmed cases, severe cases and deaths have increased more than threefold over a short period of time, compared to those registered during the lockdown.
Moreover, the infection rate among health workers has gone from one infection per day during the lockdown to ten infections recently.
If figures continue to increase, the Covid-19 Scientific Committee may recommend another lockdown, perhaps with even tighter restrictions.
Should that decision – God forbid – become inevitable, it will have severe repercussions on people’s lives and on socio-economic conditions.
Without strict, responsible compliance with health and safety measures, the number of cases and deaths will increase, and hospitals will no longer be able to cope, notwithstanding the efforts of government authorities and the health care sector.
In addition to the measures taken by government authorities, I call on all stakeholders to be mobilized and vigilant, and to get actively involved in national efforts to promote awareness and provide guidance to the citizens so as to stem the epidemic.
Let me remind you that without exemplary, responsible and patriotic attitudes on the part of each one of us, there will be no way out of this situation, and we will not be able to rise to the challenge posed by the epidemic, the King stated further.