Morocco doubles coronavirus tests as clusters emerge in factories

Morocco has doubled coronavirus tests from 1000 to 2000 a day as it opened six laboratories across the country but MPs ask for more tests to be carried out.

Speaking at a parliament question time, health minister Khalid Ait Taleb said the pandemic is under control in Morocco with total cases rise to 3046 including 350 recoveries and 143 deaths.

He said the extension of the confinement for another month aims at averting the spread of the virus deploring the emergence of clusters in industrial units in Tangier and Casablanca.

The lifting of the lockdown will only be fathomable when Morocco is at bay, he said, noting that some regions in Morocco are hit harder than others citing Marrakech, Casablanca and Fez Meknes where 80% of Morocco’s Covid cases have been registered.

Many industrial plants with coronavirus hot spots were closed as the ministry tests all contact cases there.

He said that for now the health system is responding effectively to the virus with 81% of total case showing mild symptoms while only 4% are in critical health condition.

Coronavirus cases are receiving medical treatment in 47 hospitals across the country and those with mild symptoms have been quarantined including in hotels to reduce pressure on health infrastructure.

A temporary field hospital has been set up in Casablanca exhibition center with a capacity of 700 beds which “will be used if need be,” he said.

Currently 89 patients are treated in intensive care beds, representing 5% of overall Moroccan intensive care bed capacity, Ait Taleb said.

The Minister recalled that the pre-emptive and forward-looking measures taken by Morocco have spared Morocco 6000 deaths at least urging more vigilance until the virus is effectively contained before a return to normalcy.

He also reassured as to the availability of chloroquine and other vital medicine used to treat coronavirus patients.

Morocco is still in the second phase in its response to the virus and head of the counter-pandemic department at the ministry Mohamed El Youbi said the virus did not spread on all national territory to declare a third phase.

The total number of covid-19 cases in the kingdom has so far reached 3,186 and 144 people died from coronavirus complications since the first case was confirmed in Morocco on March 2.

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