"Thanks to the use of chloroquine and people’s awareness, the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic is stable in Algeria. We are optimistic and at the moment we are no longer in the situation we were in at the beginning. Our hospitals are no longer overcrowded and we are getting better every day," the minister said on Channel 3 of the National Radio.
"Patients who have been subjected to the chloroquine treatment protocol can now leave the hospital "after 5 days (instead of 10) and continue their treatment at home," adding that "2679 patients are being treated under this protocol, while of the 1983 confirmed cases, 601 have been cured."
In addition to this curative protocol, the minister was keen to greet people’s "awareness" about this virus, while asking them to wear masks.
In addition to the 11 million existing units, "a batch of 50 million masks will soon be received, this latter will be intended in particular for hospitals and pharmacies," said Benbouzid.
"Thousands of respirators are available, while only 100 patients currently require this type of equipment," he added.
Questioned on the possibility of a total lockdown in Algiers as is the case in the province of Blida, Benbouzid said that "there is no alert justifying this measure for the moment, but if the situation were to flare up a total confinment might be imposed. "
On the other hand, "if the situation continues to evolve positively, the probability of a partial lockdown in Blida, which is not necessary for the moment, is not to be ruled out," he added.
"No scientist in the world can predict a change or decline in the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic in the coming days ," said the minister.
Addressing the issue of tests inherent to the Coronavirus, the minister said that "the Blida university hospital isn’t equipped with the PCR testing tool because it is located near the Algiers-based Pasteur Institute (50km west of Algiers). The priority is hence given to provinces experiencing problems with kits and transport; such as Ouargla, Oran, and Constantine.
While assuring, moreover, that fasting "has no connection" with this pandemic, the minister, however, expressed his "fear" that "during the evenings of the holy month of Ramadhan, young people gather around a coffee in case the lockdown is still in force."
Regarding the announcements made Monday by President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in favor of the health sector, the minister welcomed, among others, the forthcoming establishment of a National Health Security Agency, describing it as "a high authority with prerogatives of monitoring, guidance, and structuring."
In this regard, the Health Minister welcomed the recognition expressed by President Tebboune to the medical corps through incentives, such as the abolition of the public service.
Benbouzid further welcomed the decision to review "from top to bottom" the entire functioning of the current health system, stressing that the priorities identified are "maternity, the fight against cancer and medical emergencies."