Thursday, 07 January 2021 08:34

Staff Reporter.

Morocco authorised for emergency use the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, the health ministry said.

The North African nation, with some 35 million people, has recorded over 447,000 COVID-19 cases, including 7,618 deaths, according to the latest official count.

The deal with Sinopharm includes technology transfer and the setting up of a production plant in Morocco, the minister said.

The vaccination campaign would last three months at least in order to achieve population immunity, Ait Taleb said.

On December 23, Morocco imposed a nationwide three-week curfew from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am and ordered restaurants to shutdown in the hard-hit cities of Agadir, Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangierin an effort to control the latest outbreak.

On Wednesday, the country said it has recorded a total of 447 081 coronavirus infections including 7 000 deaths and 20 719 active cases.

The Moroccan economy is expected to have contracted by 7.2% in 2020 according to the International Monetary Fund, while the government said its 2020 fiscal deficit would surge to 7.5% due to the virus.

The authorities re-imposed a nationwide curfew and other restrictive measures on December 21 in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.