Moroccan health ministry cancels staff’s annual leave

Health minister calls on ministry staff to return from leave within 48 hours amid huge spike in coronavirus cases in last few days.
Monday 03/08/2020
Moroccan medics help a woman and her children into an ambulance, after testing positive for COVID-19 in the capital Rabat on August 2. (AFP)
Moroccan medics help a woman and her children into an ambulance, after testing positive for COVID-19 in the capital Rabat on August 2. (AFP)

RABAT – Morocco’s health ministry cancelled Monday the annual leave of its staff amid a huge spike in coronavirus cases in the last few days across the North African country.

An official note signed by Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb addressed to the general secretaries, inspectors, regional directors, central directors, directors of university hospital centres (CHU), director of the Institut Pasteur Maroc and other departments stipulates the suspension of holidays from August 3 because of the health crisis linked to COVID-19 pandemic.

“With regard to the granting of annual leave for civil servants in the administration and related institutions, and following the evolution of the epidemiological situation linked to the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our country, and with the aim of guaranteeing the continuity of the services of the healthcare system and meeting the needs of care, it was decided from this August 3, 2020, to suspend the authorisations of leave until further notice,” said the minister.

Ait Taleb called on all health ministry staff on leave to return to their posts within 48 hours of his announcement.

A Moroccan municipal worker disinfects the outside of a house in the southern port city of Safi. (AFP)
A Moroccan municipal worker disinfects the outside of a house in the southern port city of Safi. (AFP)

The minister’s decision came as Morocco  522 new coronavirus cases within 24 hours, taking the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 25,537 and the death toll to 382.

Of the new cases, 183 were in the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region and 146 in the Fes-Meknes region.

The Moroccan government abruptly put eight major cities under lockdown on July 25 in a bid to contain the spread of the virus ahead of Eid al-Adha festivities, sparking traffic mayhem on highways and deadly accidents.

Among the 6,720 active cases currently under treatment in hospitals across the country, 79 cases are admitted to resuscitation and intensive care units, including 11 intubated, according to the health ministry.