Maputo — Some 215 people are in home quarantine in Mozambique, as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Monday, the director of public health in the Health Ministry, Rosa Marlene, said that none of these people have tested positive for coronavirus. Indeed, sO far there has not been a single confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country.
Marlene said that, since the new coronavirus was first reported, 113,674 people have entered Mozambique, 483 of them from China. All have had their temperature checked on arrival.
Marlene said the Health Ministry is prepared to attend to any cases that might be notified, with teams stationed at the country's key entry points. She said the Ministry has the capacity to undertake 500 coronavirus tests a day, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has promised to strengthen Mozambique's capacity by sending more reagents, if necessary.
35 clinical staff and laboratory technicians are being trained in Tete, Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Sofala provinces to collect, store and transport samples that might contain coronavirus.
Of the 215 people in voluntary home quarantine, 152 are in Maputo, 41 in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, nine in Sofala, four in Maputo province and three in Zambezia.
Marlene said that both her Ministry and WHO regard Mozambique as a "low risk" country, when compared with neighbours such as South Africa, where there is a much greater flow of tourists and business travellers, who might spread the disease.
The spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Geraldo Saranga, said the number of Mozambican students living in Hubei province (of which Wuhan is the capital) has fallen from 38 to 24. Some have returned to Mozambique of their own volition.
"Not all the students go to China as scholarship holders", he said."In some cases, parents or guardians finance their children's studies in China".
The Chinese government, Saranga added, is providing supplies for the students living in Hubei, and guaranteeing assistance to those who have special needs. To avoid possible infection by person-to-person contact, tuition is being conducted online.