August 31 – September 05, 2020 | Press Review Morocco

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Photo: John S. Flickr

September 05, 2020: WHO recommends the use of steroids for severe cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended steroid drugs to treat severe cases of coronavirus after studies showed that steroids could reduce the risk of death in hospitalized patients on ventilators by about one-third.

New studies confirm that several types of steroids improve the survival of critically ill patients with COVID-19, reinforcing low-cost drugs as the standard of care. In this sense, the WHO has recommended this practice.

“We recommend systemic corticosteroids for the treatment of patients with severe or critical forms of COVID-19,” the WHO said in a statement released September 2.

“We suggest that corticosteroids should not be used in the treatment of patients with non-severe forms of the disease because treatment would not provide any benefit and could even be harmful. Treatment should be under the supervision of a doctor,” the same source added.

Physicians believe that this new study could make a difference in the fight against coronavirus because steroids are widely available and relatively inexpensive. They are often prescribed to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

In June, a large study conducted by Oxford University found that a steroid called dexamethasone reduced deaths by up to 35 per cent in COVID-19 hospitalized patients who needed treatment with breathing apparatus and 20 per cent in those who needed only supplemental oxygen.

The results immediately changed care and prompted many more studies that tested steroids to stop, so that more people could receive the drug.

The new analysis looked at the results of six of those studies that stopped early and severe patients in the Oxford study to see if all types of steroids were equally effective, and concluded that they were.

There were 222 deaths among the 678 patients who received a steroid and 425 deaths among the 1025 patients who received placebos or just standard care.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 05, 2020: Foreign professional visitors to Morocco, a simple invitation from the company is enough

After receiving numerous requests to authorise access to foreign professional visitors, consultants and technicians to be forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Residing Abroad, the CGEM has requested the aforementioned Ministry to put in place, for this purpose, a single and simplified procedure.

“I am pleased to inform you that the CGEM’s request has been approved by Mr. Minister Nasser BOURITA whom I would like to thank warmly for his great responsiveness”, congratulates Chakib Alj, President of the CGEM.

Thus, from September 10, 2020, foreign trade visitors will be able to visit Moroccan companies on the simple invitation of the latter. Invitations must be printed on the letterhead of the inviting company. (including its identifiers, including its ICE, its RC number and address).

They must also be signed and sealed by an authorized person of the company, and include the purpose of the visit, the full names and passport numbers of visitors, their date of entry into Morocco and their place of residence during their stay in Morocco.

“Foreign visitors must of course comply with the health rules enacted by the authorities, including the obligation to perform the required tests for COVID-19 beforehand,” Alj said.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 04, 2020: Spain pointed at for its reception of migrants in Melilla

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe on Thursday urged Spain to better care for the hundreds of migrants hosted in arenas in the Spanish enclave of Melilla, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dunja Mijatovic considered that human rights were difficult to apply in such conditions.

The Council of Europe is raising the tone towards Spain on its management of migrants in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic. In a letter sent Thursday, September 3 to the Spanish government, the Commissioner for Human Rights urges Madrid to better care for the 500 or so migrants hosted in arenas in the Spanish enclave of Melilla, in northern Morocco. These people are housed in this enclosure since the extension of the confinement at the only reception center in Melilla, which was already crowded.

According to Dunja Mijatovic, these arenas are not designed “to receive migrants or asylum seekers in the long term”. The latter would have “limited access to showers and toilets” and would lack “food and hygiene products”, warns the Commissioner, who points out that “overcrowding” makes it difficult “to respect the measures of physical distancing imposed” by COVID-19.

Dunja Mijatovic is also concerned about the security situation and reports “fights, robberies and allegations of excessive use of force” against security personnel.

While the Commissioner says she is “aware” of the challenge of welcoming new migrants in the midst of the pandemic, she insists on the respect of human rights, which are difficult to apply in such conditions. Madrid must therefore “find alternatives to receive migrants, including asylum seekers”, and guarantee them access to asylum procedures, insists Dunja Mijatovic.

The Spanish authorities defended themselves in a letter of response, signed by the hand of the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gomez. “In the current context of health crisis”, Spain has “adopted extraordinary means to respond to a rapidly changing situation” and maintains as “objective” the “respect for the protection of health and safety of people”, explained the minister.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 04, 2020: Department of Health updates “COVID-19 Protocol” and reduces recovery period

The Ministry of Health has updated the protocol for the care of people with coronavirus, with the aim of reducing the time of treatment and thus lighten the overstretched health structures in order to offer better health care conditions to other patients.

The instructions are clear and call on those in charge to respect them. For example, mild symptomatic cases will be monitored at home, with the identification of suspect cases based on the observation of symptoms and signs of infection in the respiratory system, such as cough, sore throat and breathing difficulties, whether or not these symptoms are accompanied by fever.

For probable cases, treatment will begin after clinical examination and without waiting for the result of the PCR test. Anyone with a temperature of more than 38 degrees will be included in the category of suspicious cases unless the elevated temperature is caused by other obvious health reasons, or not accompanied by muscle pain or headache. The protocol also classifies as suspect cases, persons who have an acute respiratory infection requiring hospitalization.

According to the new update of the treatment protocol for case management “COVID-19” from the Department of Epidemiology and Disease Control within the Ministry of Health, probable cases include all those who have had contact with a probable or COVID-19 positive person in connection with an identified infectious outbreak, a healthcare professional working in a hospital structure or a laboratory responsible for medical analysis and screening for the pandemic. Obviously, any person who suddenly presents one of the two clinical signs – loss of smell or taste – will fall into the category of possible or plausible cases.

The Ministry of Health has also included among the possible cases of Coronavirus infection, persons who died without apparent cause if the death was due to shortness of breath and the deceased had mixed with another possible or confirmed person with the virus.

The ministry of health called on the directors of the university hospital centres to treat possible cases infected with the virus as soon as possible, without waiting for virological confirmation for probable cases, and without waiting for the result of the “PCR” test for contacts with diseases.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 04, 2020: Morocco “shows interest in Russian vaccine”.

The Russian ambassador to Morocco, Valerian Vladimirovitch Shuvaev, said Thursday that Moroccan importers were interested in acquiring the Russian vaccine, developed to contain the pandemic of the new coronavirus.

In an interview with the Russian news agency Sputnik, Valerian Vladimirovitch Shuvaev confirmed that Moroccan partners had “expressed interest in the proposal to provide them with the world’s first vaccine against COVID19, created by Russian scientists.

Cited by the same source, he said Morocco was conducting its own scientific research, but showed a willingness to engage in dialogue.

Valerian Vladimirovich Shuvaev noted that his country had submitted a proposal regarding its willingness to establish a production base and, in the future, to conduct joint research and clinical trials for the vaccine.

The Russian ambassador also said that Moscow has solicited “all countries of the world, including Morocco. “We assume that our proposal will receive positive feedback, because there are opportunities for that,” he said.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 03, 2020: Large-scale production of the 100% Moroccan screening test

Designed and manufactured in Morocco by the startup Moldiag created by the MAScIR Foundation, the diagnostic kit for Sars-CoV2/COVID-19 received a first order of 100,000 units from the Ministry of Health.

After obtaining, in May 2020, the national and international validation of its diagnostic kit for Sars CoV2/COVID-19, the major challenge for Moldiag, a startup subsidiary of the MAScIR Foundation, a research and development center, was to launch its industrial production unit as a matter of urgency. With this in mind, Moldiag accelerated the equipment and instrumentation needed for large-scale production, and on June 30, 2020, it completed the laboratory production of 10,000 diagnostic tests for Sars CoV2/COVID-19 on a trial basis, which were delivered to the public authorities.

With the product registration certificate, issued by the Ministry of Health on July 21, 2020, Moldiag can now produce and market its kit with a production capacity of 1 million diagnostic tests per month. To date, the startup has enjoyed the confidence of the Ministry of Health with an initial order for 100,000 tests.

As for the market availability of the MAScIR kit of Sars-CoV2/COVID-19, discussions are underway with potential local distributors. This national innovation will thus make available to Moroccan laboratories a competitively priced diagnostic kit that will increase the screening capacity that is essential since the upsurge of coronavirus cases in Morocco.

As a reminder, this 100% Moroccan test has undergone a series of validation processes in reference biological and virological centers, at national and international level, which have proven its effectiveness and reliability. At the end of these tests, this test obtained the validation of national and foreign approved laboratories, including the Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Gendarmerie and the Pasteur Institute of Paris, thus placing it at the same level as tests used internationally.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

September 02, 2020, the daily statement on COVID-19 will no longer be issued

The Ministry of Health announced that it now intends to adopt a new communication strategy regarding the evolution of the epidemiological situation in Morocco.

As a result, the weekly statement on the evolution will be simply cancelled, according to a press release from the department of Khalid Ait Taleb, published this Wednesday, September 2. Thus, from this Thursday, September 3, a statement, in Arabic and French, will be available to the national media and this, daily at 18h, reporting the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

The Ministry of Health also emphasizes that the weekly statement will now be replaced by a bi-monthly press release. However, the official portal of the Ministry will continue to inform the public daily about the pandemic of the new coronavirus, according to the above-mentioned press release.

In this context, the Ministry has not failed to urge citizens to comply with health and safety regulations and to commit themselves to the preventive measures enacted by the authorities with a sense of patriotism and responsibility.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

01 September 2020: Antidote against COVID-19 should not exceed $3 per dose in Morocco

As we announced yesterday, the vaccine against COVID-19 is not for tomorrow. But while waiting for a happy outcome to this crazy race led by hundreds of scientists from all over the world, there is cause for rejoicing: Morocco will be among the countries that will benefit from the vaccine at a maximum of $3 per dose. While 1,191 new cases of coronavirus infection, 30 deaths (1,141) and 1,240 recoveries were recorded in the country on Monday (6 p.m.) in 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 62,590, a vaccine at such an affordable price represents a glimmer of hope. The first in a long time. In fact, since the world before. Because in the meantime

In the meantime, reasons for satisfaction have been as rare as a summer snowstorm. But to what do we owe such good news? The answer lies in five letters: COVAX.

Covax is the future global access program for the vaccine against the new coronavirus. This program to ensure equitable access to the vaccine has been exposed by the World Health Organization. “So far, 172 countries are engaged in the Covax program, a global vaccine service with the largest and most diversified portfolio of vaccines against CVD-19 in the world,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently revealed. As a lower-middle-income country and territory, Morocco, along with Algeria, Tunisia, and the West Bank and Gaza, among others, is considered by the UN to be eligible for the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for Covax, a kind of health cerberus co-led by the Gavi Alliance for Vaccines, WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Once vaccines are developed, the Covax will have the daunting task of ensuring equitable access to them around the world, after they are developed and licensed for use, by securing the supply of 2 billion doses in countries that have relied on this facility.

At the time of writing, several vaccines are in the running “nine vaccines are part of this dynamic portfolio, which is constantly being reviewed and optimized to ensure access to the best possible range of products,” the WHO boss said. Discussions are already under way with four other producers,” he added. In addition, COVAX offers the flexibility to countries to procure additional doses of the vaccine if such action is deemed necessary.

In this context, an agreement signed a few months ago between the Gavi Alliance, CEPI, and AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical group created in April 1999 by the merger of Sweden’s Astra and Britain’s Zeneca, promises 300 million additional doses of the candidate vaccine. If the candidate vaccine is selected by the mechanism. One thing is certain: To meet its objectives, the rollout of the vaccine, including the additional doses, will depend on an assessment of each country’s vulnerability to the virus. To participate in the Covax mechanism, each country had to send an expression of interest by August 31. In other words, now is too late. For countries that sent their EOI on time, such as Morocco, confirmation of their membership should take place on September 18.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

01 September, 2020: Pharmacists warn of stock-outs of COVID-19 treatments

After deploring the publication of the names of drugs included in the treatment of the new coronavirus in Morocco, which caused a rush to pharmacies, pharmacists warned of the risk of stock shortages. The National Association of Pharmacists of Morocco warned that massive purchases could impact the availability of these treatments, many of which are intended for people with chronic diseases.

Quoted by, the professional organization expressed concern about the shortage of these treatments on the market, in a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, Khalid Aït Taleb. In its letter, it calls on pharmaceutical distribution companies to replace the drugs concerned by identical treatments. It also requests the publication of a circular to authorize pharmacies to replace the drugs in question.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.

August 31, 2020: The EIB releases more than 1 billion DH for Morocco

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has just released an envelope of 100 million euros (1.1 billion DH) to finance Morocco’s most urgent needs to deal with the COVID pandemic19 . This is a first tranche of EUR 100 million urgently released to support Morocco’s efforts against the COVID-19 crisis, out of a total financing of EUR 200 million, says a joint press release from the Ministry of Finance and the EIB.

The package will provide funding for medical equipment and materials and will strengthen health and hospital capacities with the aim of fighting the pandemic more effectively. This is the first EIB financing in the EU’s Mediterranean neighborhood in the fight against COVID-19.

For more information, please consult (in French) the following link.