Morocco entered the second phase of the COVID-19 outbreak today, exceeding 500 cases.
The ministry also reported that seven COVID-19 patients have died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths related to the epidemic in Morocco to 33.
The ministry confirmed one new recovery, bringing the total number of recovered patients in the country to 14.
The southern regions of Dakhla-Oued Ed Dahab and Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra have yet to confirm any cases of the virus.
Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control at the Ministry of Health Mohamed Lyoubi maintained that the steep rise in cases is “expected and natural.”
He added that some patients contracted the virus while attending parties and family gatherings and participating in group travels.
“The death rate in our country is currently 6.2%,” Lyoubi continued, a figure that is close to or less than the death rates of some European countries.
The health official reassured citizens who expressed frustration about the death rate, explaining that the majority of fatalities (82%) used to suffer from chronic illnesses that aggravated their situation.
Around 85% of the deceased were already in critical condition when their infection was detected. In general, only 16% of the confirmed cases were in a critical situation at the detection of their infection.
Old age is also a major factor in the death rate. The average age of those who died due to the coronavirus is 66 years, while the average age for all patients is 52 years.
The health expert also reassured citizens that Morocco started performing medical tests on people who made contact with the patients rather than simply monitoring them. The new testing policy is behind the large increase in the number of suspected cases who tested negative for COVID-19.
Lyoubi said that Morocco has a number of criteria before performing medical tests and that the country is “still far from reaching the phase of performing mass testing on the public.”
Morocco declared a state of emergency on March 19 to limit citizens’ movement.
The state of health emergency came into effect the following day.