The minister praised the use of chloroquine as an effective medicine for treating COVID-19 patients.
Rabat – Morocco will lift the lockdown and state of emergency only when the average number of people infected by a single person declines for a full two weeks.
During an interview with television channel 2M aired on April 30, Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb said the government will not lift the state of emergency until there is a change in the “R0” ratio, indicating how many people each COVID-19 patient infects.
R0 is a medical and mathematical term that health officials use in determining how infectious a virus is and the average rate of virus transmission from a single infected person.
The minister said the R0 must be less than one over two weeks, meaning each infected person would transmit the virus, on average, to less than one person.
There are also a few more conditions for the country to consider before deciding to lift the lockdown, the minister explained. The state of emergency is set to expire on May 20.
The conditions relate both to the decrease in the number of new infections and the rate of positive cases compared to all diagnostic tests for people in contact with infected persons, after the generalization of tests.
Treating the coronavirus with chloroquine
The official touted all the measures Morocco adopted to contain the spread of the virus, especially confinement, the use of the antimalarial chloroquine, and the wearing of masks in public.
The official emphasized the effectiveness of chloroquine, both in the treatment of critical cases and benign cases.
The head of the supply department at the Ministry of Health, Mahjoub Ahdi, said last month Morocco was among the first countries across the world to secure a sufficient stock of the chloroquine-based drugs used to treat COVID-19 patients despite the high demand for the medicine in the world.
The Moroccan government deals with local and international parties to ensure a consistent supply of the drug. The Lancet, a medical journal, noted in April that “in-vitro studies have shown that chloroquine is effective against several viruses, including [SARS],” a similar virus to the one that causes COVID-19. Chloroquine has sparked interest as a potential treatment for the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) commented on the use of chloroquine in March, emphasizing that there is no evidence it is an effective treatment for the virus.
Some doctors, however, prescribe the anti-malaria treatment as a potential cure, highlighting its effectiveness in diagnosed COVID-19 patients.
Morocco has reported 4,529 COVID-19 cases, including 1,055 recoveries and 171 deaths to date.