Morocco vaccinates more than four million people

The North African country makes progress in the vaccination campaign and takes measures to avoid new variants
Una mujer con una mascarilla para evitar la propagación del coronavirus pasa por delante de un vivac donde se realizan ensayos clínicos de vacunas contra el covid-19, en Rabat, Marruecos

PHOTO/AP  -   The North African country makes progress in the vaccination campaign and takes measures to avoid new variants

Morocco has vaccinated more than four million people since the launch of the Covid-19 immunisation campaign began at the end of January, the health ministry said on Tuesday. Morocco currently uses the British AstraZeneca and Chinese Sinopharm vaccines but, according to local media, it intends to diversify its supplies with the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and the American Johnson and Johnson. The free vaccination campaign aims to immunize those over 18, around 25 million people, "with a view to gradually returning to normal life". Since the start of the campaign and as in other countries, priority groups for vaccination have been established: people over 65, health workers, police and teachers. 

Un trabajador médico sostiene un frasco de la vacuna británica-sueca AstraZeneca/Oxford AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA
AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA-A medical worker holds a bottle of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine

At the beginning of February, Morocco had already registered more than one million people, 1,112,103, with the first dose of the vaccine administered, making it the most advanced country in Africa in the vaccination campaign. 

As for the measures adopted, Morocco will extend the state of alarm in force since March 2020, until April 10, and the night curfew until mid-March. The closure of cafes and shops is set at 8 p.m. and the night curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., except exceptional cases. The country's borders remain closed, although regular flights operate. Nevertheless, the country has adopted several new measures to avoid the new variant of COVID-19, including the cancellation of flights with Greece, Lebanon, Kuwait, Finland, Norway and Poland. Citizens of the country, foreign nationals residing in the country, business travellers with an invitation from Moroccan companies, or other travellers with a hotel reservation may enter the country. In addition, all persons except children under 11 years of age will have to present a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours in advance. 

Una enfermera marroquí administra la vacuna Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 a un trabajador sanitario, en el segundo día de la campaña de vacunación, en el Hospital Cheikh Khalifa en Casablanca, Marruecos, el 30 de enero de 2021 PHOTO/AP
PHOTO/AP-A doctor holds a package of Sputnik V vaccines

Since the first reported case in March 2020, Morocco has recorded a total of 486,833 reported infections, including 8,695 deaths, according to data recorded in the Ministry's daily bulletin. The latest data recorded on March 9 shows a total of 508 new cases and 12 deaths. 

The crisis caused by the pandemic is also hitting the Alawi kingdom's economy. The unemployment rate rose to 11.9% in 2020, compared to 9.2% in 2019. A crisis that has been aggravated by several drought seasons in the country affecting different sectors.