Morocco: A population under stress, tired of confinement

Posted On May 21, 2020

Rabat, May 20, 2020 – Almost half of Moroccans are “anxious” under the mandatory lockdown enforced in mid-March to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, an official survey published Wednesday found. “Being confined and the health threat of COVID-19 are likely to have a major psychological impact on the population, ranging from difficulty sleeping to post-traumatic stress, depression and panic attacks,” the kingdom’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) said in the report on the April survey.

Moroccan authorities on Monday extended the nationwide lockdown until June 10, citing a “stable but not reassuring sanitary situation”, due to outbreaks that “continue to appear” among families and in factories. The announcement sparked disappointment on social media. In late April, 53 percent of households said they would be “prepared to endure, but with difficulty”, an extension of the lockdown, according to the HCP survey.

While anxiety was the dominant emotion experienced by 49 percent of those surveyed, 40 percent mentioned fear, 30 percent claustrophobia, 25 percent reported multiple phobias, and 24 percent reported trouble sleeping. Some 48 percent reported fear of catching COVID-19, while 21 percent feared losing their jobs and 10 percent were afraid of dying. Concerns over not being able to provide food for the household and children’s education were also raised.

Morocco has deployed a range of direct or indirect aid to support businesses, 950,000 furloughed employees and the 4.3 million families deprived of income from the informal sector. However, due to delays in implementation, only 40 percent of those who could no longer work said at the end of April that they had received aid from the state or employer, according to the HCP. The study found that even as many households managed to obtain food, over half did not have disinfectant products and more than a quarter did not have masks. Since mid-March, all outings have required authorisation and wearing a mask was obligatory in public, with frequent police checks. Non-compliance is punishable by fines or up to three months in prison.

AFP

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Written by The North Africa Journal

The North Africa Journal is a leading English-language publication focused on North Africa. The Journal covers primarily the Maghreb region and expands its general coverage to the Sahel, Egypt, and beyond, when events in those regions affect the broader North Africa geography. The Journal does not have any affiliation with any institution and has been independent since its founding in 1996. Our position is to always bring our best analysis of events affecting the region, and remain as neutral as humanly possible. Our coverage is not limited to one single topic, but ranges from economic and political affairs, to security, defense, social and environmental issues. We rely on our full staff analysts and editors to bring you best-in-class analysis. We also work with sister company MEA Risk LLC, to leverage the presence on the ground of a solid network of contributors and experts. Information on MEA Risk can be found at www.MEA-Risk.com.

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