Morocco signs agreement to purchase Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine
London, Sep. 19, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Morocco Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Friday to purchase doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from Russian pharmaceutical group R-Pharm.
R-Pharm signed a licensing deal with UK’s AstraZeneca in July to produce and distribute doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Morocco’s minister signed the MoU in a videoconference with the General Director of R-Pharma, Vasily Ignatiev, and the vice president of Astrazeneca, according to Morocco’s state media.
The agreement seeks to secure Morocco’s sufficient supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
The signing of the agreement took place at the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Minister of Interior Abdelouafi Laftit attended the ceremony along with other Moroccan officials, including Moroccan Foreign Minister Nassser Bourita and Minister of Finance Mohamed Benchaaboun.
The agreement comes after a notable increase in Morocco’s number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
To date, Morocco has recorded 94,504 total cases, including 1,714 deaths and 74,930 recoveries.
The Ministry of Health warned that the situation is worsening and shared its goal to reduce the reproduction rate (R0) to below 1.
Like all countries, Morocco is racing to secure COVID-19 vaccines.
The North African country signed in August an agreement with China National Biotec Group Limited (CNBG) on COVID-19 vaccine trials.
Meanwhile, Morocco has extended firm lockdown measures for an additional 14 days in the city of Casablanca to continue to combat the spread of COVID-19 cases.
Authorities based the decision on conclusions from daily monitoring and regular evaluation operations that committees under the prefecture of Casablanca conduct.
The Moroccan government decided to extend the measures it imposed on September 7, which were set to expire after two weeks. They will now renew on Monday, September 21, for another two weeks.
The lockdown measures include the closure of entrances and exits leading to and from Casablanca.
Citizens and residents wishing to travel to and from the city need an exceptional movement permit signed and stamped by authorities.
The lockdown measures also include the closure of all schools in Casablanca at all levels, including universities. Schools will continue to provide online classes.
Local markets will continue closing at 3 p.m., while cafes and shops should close at 8 p.m. and restaurants have to shut their doors at 9 p.m.
The September 7 lockdown measures also included a night curfew, whereby Casablanca residents are able to leave their homes between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The measure excludes health professionals and employees whose work requires them to go out beyond curfew hours, with authorization.