The rapid global spread of the British mutation appears to have now reached Moroccan shores causing a city-wide lockdown in Dakhla.
Rabat – Morocco’s government appears to be contemplating more restrictive measures against the spread of the British COVID-19 mutation.
Public health authorities have already intervened in the southern coastal city of Dakhla. There, officials announced a new three-day citywide lockdown after local health officials detected 40 cases of the British variant.
It appears that Morocco as a whole could soon be facing a similar approach. Regional lockdowns are a possibility, with half of the country’s cases now concentrated in the Casablanca-Settat region.
However, it is possible the government is preparing tougher nationwide measures ahead of the holy month of Ramadan that is set to commence mid-April.
Morocco has now detected more than 73 cases of the British COVID-19 mutation, leading to fears that the variant could cause a resurgence in infections, as it has done in Europe.
The British mutation
The UK COVID-19 variant, known in Britain as the “Kent variant” and scientifically as “B.1.1.7,” first emerged in the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent.
First detected in November, it rapidly spread, first across the British isles and then across the world. The British variant was first detected in the US in December and by February 9 it had spread to 59 countries around the world.
Already in January WHO Europe was calling for tougher measures to stop the spread of the new mutation. “It is our assessment that this variant of concern may, over time, replace other circulating lineages,” the WHO’s Hans Kluge said at the start of the year.
On February 17, the British COVID-19 variant accounted for 96% of all COVID-19 infections in Great Britain.
By early March, the British variant was spreading throughout 27 European countries and had become the dominant (most detected) mutation in Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain, and Portugal.
Much is at stake for Morocco. Within the last four months, Morocco has been able to reduce its new daily COVID-19 cases nearly tenfold.
With the British variant now increasingly present, Morocco’’s health authorities are likely to opt for tough measures in order to make sure this new mutation does not explode across the country amid Ramadan celebrations.