The tests are part of Morocco’s strategy to lift the nationwide lockdown without causing a major COVID-19 outbreak.
Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of Health has launched a campaign of mass COVID-19 testing in all Moroccan regions. The campaign’s objective is to conduct 1,790,000 tests by the end of July or the start of August.
The Ministry of Health announced the decision on Wednesday, May 20.
“A testing strategy for COVID-19 was elaborated to detect asymptomatic cases as soon as possible and elaborate operational regional plans,” Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb wrote in a letter addressed to the directors of regional health departments.
Morocco’s current epidemiological situation is characterized by several territorial disparities, which calls for plans adopted to each region, the minister explained.
“The current lockdown cannot be extended indefinitely. A national committee is preparing its lifting strategy,” Ait Taleb announced.
The mass testing campaign should allow for early detection of COVID-19 patients with no or mild symptoms, and thus reduce their transmission period and contain the pandemic’s spread.
The new strategy will lead Moroccan laboratories to perform 20,000 daily COVID-19 tests on average, over the course of 90 consecutive days. The current testing frequency is approximately 5,000 daily tests.
To ramp up testing, the Ministry of Health is equipping a series of laboratories across the country. In the previous week, three new laboratories started performing COVID-19 tests.
The ministry is also sending out mobile laboratories to perform tests in remote areas.
The new laboratories will not only perform more tests but also accelerate their results. COVID-19 patients currently wait between three and five days before receiving test results, but the new facilities would allow for quick results in less than 24 hours.