The Algerian Ministry of Health has declared that hospitals in the country can use chloroquine to treat patients infected with the coronavirus. However, the statement states that the drug should be used to treat “certain cases” of Covid-19, in accordance with a “specific medical protocol”.
Chloroquine is one of the oldest and best-known antimalarial drugs – although it is no longer recommended in much of Africa due to resistance from malaria parasites. In the treatment of patients with malaria, the drug has been used to reduce fever and inflammation.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is not yet definitive proof of its effectiveness in the treatment of Covid-19, but it is part of the ongoing trials. According to BBC health correspondent, “Chloroquine appears to block the coronavirus in laboratory studies. There is anecdotal evidence from doctors who say it seems to help”.
Last week, there was confusion over whether the United States approved the drug to treat coronavirus. But the drug regulatory agency in the United States said it was still under study.
Seventeen people died of Covid-19 in Algeria, which currently has 230 cases of coronavirus, 54% of which in the province of Blida, south of the capital Algiers. Last week, the government closed all borders, banned flights and ferries, and public transport between cities. He also sent 50% of the workforce on paid leave for two weeks, ordering them to stay at home. Private companies have received promises of state financial assistance to compensate for the loss of wages paid to their employees and workers.
In neighboring countries, Morocco and Tunisia, which are also in a state of containment, the army has been deployed to impose social distancing and the closure of shops and businesses deemed non-essential by the authorities.