The minister said the proactive measures in areas with the highest number of cases have been “in vain, we are still seeing a significant upsurge.”
Rabat – Morocco risks “being overwhelmed” by COVID-19, Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb said Sunday while describing the alarming spread of the pandemic.
Ait Taleb said the epidemiological situation in Morocco marked an upward trend in recent weeks, with a record number of new cases on Sunday, September 6.
He said the number of cases health authorities confirmed on Sunday reached 2,234, of which 42% were in the Casablanca-Settat region. The city of Casablanca recorded 773 new cases and 11 deaths.
The health minister said Casablanca is an exception in Morocco, standing out with a large number of critical cases. He said that the city has 89 patients in severe condition out of the 201 people who were hospitalized on Sunday.
The number represents a ratio of around 45%, the minister said, saying the figure of asymptomatic cases equals the number of symptomatic cases.
“This explains why there is a strong spread of the virus today and that the patients who are symptomatic will gain the upper hand over the asymptomatic cases, which would represent a danger for the hospital infrastructure and a risk of saturation the days to come,” he stressed.
Ait Taleb said authorities have worked to stem the spread of the pandemic in Casablanca with several measures, but the measures were in vain.
“We are still seeing a significant upsurge,” he underlined.
The health minister said Morocco risks “being overwhelmed by the virus. Therefore, drastic measures are necessary, otherwise the situation may get out of control in the days to come.”
Morocco’s government banned travel to and from several regions, and decided to reimpose COVID-19 lockdown measures in cities such as Casablanca and Khenifra.
In Casablanca, lockdown measures include the closure of local markets at 3 p.m. Cafes and shops should close at 8 p.m., while restaurants should shut their doors at 9 p.m.
The government also announced a curfew, with people allowed to go out between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Schools and universities will also close their doors, with the city of Casablanca fully adopting remote education to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The measures will remain in effect for the next 14 days.