Maputo — Mozambique's National Health Institute (INS) on Tuesday announced that it has diagnosed two more cases of the respiratory disease Covid-19, bringing the total to three.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference, the National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, said that one of the new cases is a Mozambican woman "over 70 years of age" who was in close contact with the first diagnosed case, a Mozambican man over 75 years old who had recently returned from London.
The third case is a South African woman "over 30 years old" who is resident in Maputo, who returned from a trip to Johannesburg in mid-March.
Thus, of the three Covid-19 cases, said Marlene, two were imported and one was a case of local transmission.
As a matter of policy, the health authorities do not divulge the names of patients with Covid-19 or any other illness. But the woman diagnosed decided to make her name and status known publicly.
On Tuesday evening, she telephoned the independent television channel, STV, and said: "I saw an item on your TV news which spoke of an infected woman. I want to say that it's me. I am a 77 year old Mozambican woman and my name is Lucia Maria de Almeida Monteiro Comiche. In fact, I am the one who is infected".
She is the wife of the mayor of Maputo, Eneas Comiche, who had recently sat beside Prince Albert of Monaco at a meeting in London. Shortly afterwards the Prince announced that he had contracted Covid-19.
Lucia Comiche spoke in her own name and did not claim to be representing her husband, who has so far said nothing. Inevitably, it has been widely assumed that the Mayor is the first Covid-19 case, announced on Sunday.
Comiche himself had been tested for the disease on Friday. According to a report in Wednesday's issue of the independent newsheet "Carta de Mocambique", Lucia Comiche, and the couple's children and grandchildren, were tested on Monday.
Marlene also announced that the health authorities had identified 39 people who had been in contact with the three confirmed cases and all are currently in home quarantine. So far, the INS has tested 67 people, three of whom were positive for Covid-19.
In actions of health surveillance at Mozambique's entry points, Marlene said, 374,712 people had been screened who had come from countries with confirmed Covid-19 outbreaks. 1,380 of them had been put into quarantine, of whom 459 are still in quarantine.
As for Mozambicans abroad, Marlene said the two cases detected, one in Spain and one in Portugal, have now left hospital, and their condition is regarded as stable.