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Coronavirus: Morocco enters the world top 40 in terms of tests

After a very timid start following the census on its territory of the first case of Covid-19, Morocco has significantly caught up with its delay in screening for this pandemic, which has already killed nearly half a million people among more than nine million already contaminated.

On a roll of more than 20,000 tests per day since the beginning of the month, Morocco has just entered the top 40 world of nations having provided the most efforts in this area with nearly 550,000 diagnoses carried out since March 2, 2020. A performance which places it, more exactly, in the 39th world rank just behind Ukraine and Austria but, above all, ahead of several other European nations such as Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands or Sweden and even world powers such as Japan, Mexico and Argentina. South Africa, which totals some 1.3 million cumulative tests, is the only African nation to also appear in this top 40, ranking 18th.

Such a ramp-up would not have been possible had it not been for the political will of the Moroccan authorities to make screening a key axis in their fight against the pandemic of the new coronavirus and, as a corollary, the gradual increase in the number of laboratories equipped and empowered to carry out the PCR test, which is the most reliable type of virological test so far on a global level and which Morocco adopted very early on as a means of screening par excellence. A number which rose from barely three at the beginning of March 2020 to nearly twenty-five laboratories at the time of writing these columns, including fifteen establishments under the authority of the Ministry of Health, two military hospitals, two private hospitals at non-profit organization managed by foundations, a few private units (notably on the Casablanca-Tangier axis) and, for the past few days, two mobile laboratories (one operating in the Fès-Meknès region and the other in Casablanca).

However, with nearly 15,000 tests per million inhabitants (compared to less than 3,000 just a month ago), Morocco barely closes the step of the World Top 100 of the countries having provided the most screening efforts in relative term (compared to their populations). On this register, it is even exceeded at the African level and besides South Africa (80th place in the world), by Djibouti and Mauritius which point respectively to the 50th and 15th ranks (admittedly two countries whose population barely exceeds one million inhabitants for each) and among a group of Arab nations: Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

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