- Almost nine out of 10 Moroccans (86%) say they are “somewhat” or “very” well informed about the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to combat it.
- About one in seven citizens (13%) say they or a member of their family became ill with COVID-19, and four in 10 (40%) say their household lost a primary source of income because of the pandemic.
- Almost two-thirds (63%) of Moroccans say they found it difficult to comply with lockdown restrictions or curfews imposed by the government to limit the spread of COVID-19. But most (85%) say the lockdown was necessary, in spite of the toll it took on the economy and people’s livelihoods.
- Six in 10 (61%) support the closure of schools to limit the spread of the virus, but 71% think the schools should have reopened sooner.
- Half (49%) of Moroccans say they or their households received special government assistance during the pandemic.
- As of February 2021, large majorities said the government had done “fairly well” or “very well” in managing the response to the pandemic (77%) and keeping the public informed (86%).
- Three-fourths (74%) of Moroccans say they trust the government “somewhat” or “a lot” to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and eight in 10 (81%) say they are “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to try to get vaccinated.
- Large majorities say that in times of a health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is justified in using the police or armed forces to enforce public health measures (89%), censoring media reporting (90%), and postponing elections or limiting political campaigning (70%).
- Only three in 10 respondents (29%) anticipate that the pandemic will be “somewhat serious” or “very serious” in Morocco over the next six months.
- But a majority (53%) say the government should invest more in preparing for health emergencies like COVID-19, even if it means fewer resources are available for other health services.
Morocco has recorded more than 947,760 COVID-19 cases since 2 March 2020, second on the continent to South Africa. Deaths number more than 14,720 (WHO, 2021; BBC, 2021).
In response, the government declared a state of health emergency; closed schools, borders, mosques, and other public spaces except for commercial activities and vital services; banned public gatherings; and instituted mandatory face masking and a nightly curfew
(Le Monde, 2020; International Organization for Migration, 2020). Economic support included monthly allowances for employees, cash transfers to families in the informal sector, and loan and tax deferrals for businesses (Institut Montaigne, 2020).
The government also launched a mass vaccination campaign that has fully inoculated more than 58% of Moroccans (Maroc.ma, 2021).
The vaccination campaign, thought to be Africa’s most successful, has reduced the number of critical cases and deaths and allowed the easing of restrictions on citizens’ movement (Delorme, 2021).
However, in October the government also introduced a “vaccine passport” that citizens must carry in their workplaces, in public spaces such as restaurants, and during domestic and international travel. This pass, which critics decry as overly restrictive and unconstitutional, has sparked a nationwide outcry and demonstrations in major cities (Associated Press, 2021; Mahmoud, 2021).
Findings from an Afrobarometer survey in February 2021 show that most Moroccans embrace vaccination against COVID-19 and trust the government to ensure that vaccines are safe. At the time of the survey – months before the introduction of the vaccine passport – a majority also applauded the government’s performance in managing the response to COVID-19 and supported the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
While half of citizens report that they received special government assistance during the pandemic, the same proportion say that assistance was not distributed fairly, and a majority believe that at least some relief resources were lost to government corruption.