The Ministry of Health reassures citizens that no cases have been identified, noting that the risk of virus spread in the country is low.
Rabat – In light of the emergence of coronavirus cases in countries outside Asia, Morocco has decided to activate health monitoring at international airports and ports in order to diagnose infected people and to prevent the spread of the virus in the country.
In a statement sent to Morocco World News, the Ministry of Health confirmed that no cases have been recorded in the country.
“The Ministry of Health continues to consider the risk of spreading the virus nationwide as low, and confirms, once again, that no suspected or confirmed cases have been registered so far,” said the ministry on Saturday.
The ministry, however, does not recommend citizens take any exceptional preventive measures, except the usual hygiene rules.
Citizens are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. The statement also advises citizens to avoid close contact with patients with respiratory symptoms.
The crisis reaches Europe
Meanwhile, France’s health authorities have confirmed three people have contracted the deadly Chinese coronavirus. The patients are now in quarantine to avoid further infection.
Before the third diagnosis, French health minister Agnes Buzyn announced on Friday that two people were infected by the virus, while the third one was reported later on.
Buzyn said the first two patients had traveled to China and visited Wuhan where the virus originated. The virus has infected more than 1,287 people in China, while the death toll has risen to 41 as of Friday.
The French minister stated that she expects more cases.
“We have two cases. We will probably have other cases.”
The health minister emphasized that France has developed a test allowing medics to diagnose infected people, stating it is the reason why France is the first European country to identify cases.
One patient is a 48-year-old man in the southwestern city of Bordeaux. He had traveled to China and returned to France on January 22. The next day he underwent a medical examination and was admitted to the hospital.
The two other patients are in a Paris hospital receiving treatment in isolation. Both patients traveled to China.
Buzyn told the press that authorities are working to identify further cases by finding the people the patients have had contacts with.
“What matters is to contain the fire as fast as possible, that’s why we need to know the patient’s history, find the people that patient was in contact with, to meet them, speak to them and give them the instructions to first of all stay at home and avoid any contact.”
Where it all began
Two additional cases have been identified in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The patients both traveled to Wuhan and recently returned to the US.
Several cases have also been reported in many Asian countries, including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.
The virus first broke out in Wuhan, China before spreading to all Chinese provinces.
China has established preventive measures by closing all tourist sites and imposing transport restrictions.
Chinese authorities have started building a hospital of 1,300 beds in Wuhan to cope with the crisis.
Currently, 100 Moroccan students are stranded in the city of Wuhan as the travel ban continues in China, a Moroccan national in Wuhan told Morocco World News.
The restrictions of movement come in the midst of a lunar holiday in China, meaning that, with citizens traveling widely to visit relatives and enjoy the time off work, there is more chance of the infection spreading.
“Anyone who tries to escape the place will be sentenced to 7 years in prison,” the student added.
As per the restrictions on the region, the students are stuck in the university dormitories and they are running out of food.
Viral photos of the city show the supermarket shelves are bare, as access to the area is strictly limited.
“We don’t have enough food. We only have the food that we can live with for three or four days,” said the student.