Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the ministry has tasked a number of laboratories and hospitals with carrying out COVID-19 tests for patients with symptoms and their contacts.
Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that it will grant licenses to private sector laboratories to carry out COVID-19 screening tests.
Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb announced the decision on Wednesday during a visit to Marrakech to address local epidemiological developments.
“The ministry will grant authorizations to private sector laboratories to carry out microbiological analyses of Covid-19 provided that these laboratories comply with health and biological safety conditions,” the minister said.
He added that the laboratories should also proceed to the systematic declaration of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The private laboratories’ declaration of confirmed COVID-19 cases will allow authorities to follow up on active cases and contacts to protect public health, the official stressed.
He said the decision to grant private sector permission will also ease the pressure on public laboratories.
Previously, the ministry only allowed a specific list of laboratories and hospitals across Morocco to carry out COVID-19 tests for patients with symptoms and their contacts.
The tests’ prices vary from one site to another, including price differences between laboratories and private clinics.
Some clinics in Morocco perform COVID-19 tests for MAD 1,200 ($120), while some laboratories carry out COVID-19 tests at prices ranging between MAD 800 ($80) and MAD 350 ($35).
Morocco’s health minister visited Marrakech after photos of crowded hospitals and COVID-19 patients lying on the floor went viral.
Videos and recordings of doctors and nurses complaining about their limited resources to treat the patients also stirred backlash on social networks.
The minister said Morocco will build a field hospital for COVID-19 patients in Marrakech to relieve some of the pressure at the city’s hospitals.
The Marrakech-Safi region has reported 7,679 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday. The majority of cases are in the city of Marrakech. The number includes at least 50 healthcare providers.