Morocco discovers new Covid-19 variant
JOHANNESBURG - Moroccan authorities have discovered a new strain of Covid-19, the Middle East Monitor reported on Wednesday.
The publication said the discovery was announced by a member of the state-run scientific and technical committee tasked with managing the pandemic on Tuesday.
Azzedine Brahimi said the new strain had appeared only in the Ouarzazate province and had no effect on either the spread of the virus, the severity of the disease after infection or the immune response.
"Most infections in Morocco belong to the original coronavirus and the mutated variant discovered in Britain," Brahimi said on Facebook.
The ministry of health recently said the British strain of Covid-19 had been detected in seven regions across Morocco. It said there were no other mutations in the North African country.
Last month, Reuters reported that Morocco had received 8.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine made in India and the Sinopharm vaccine from China, allowing it to administer more jabs than any other African country.
At the time, the health ministry said it expected 4.2 million doses before the summer.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hurt the country’s economy, but Morocco World News reported a recovery in the first quarter of 2021, with gross domestic product expanding by 0.7 percent.
To date, a total of 498,329 people have contracted Covid-19 in Morocco. Out of these cases, 8,857 people have subsequently succumbed, while 485,162 have gone on to recover.