Maputo — The number of people in Mozambique infected with the new coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease Covid-19 has risen from three to five, according to Health Minister Armindo Tiago.
The new cases were detected because the Ministry is now accepting tests made by two private laboratories. Initially only the National Health Institute (INS) had the authority to test for coronavirus, since its methodology is fully in line with that advocated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Ministry has now accepted tests from two private laboratories that also follow WHO procedures. The samples are taken in Mozambique, but the testing is done in the Joaquim Chaves laboratory in Portugal. It was these tests that showed two more people had contracted coronavirus.
According to a Health Ministry statement, one is a Mozambican man, over 30 years old and resident in Maputo city. He returned to Maputo from Portugal, with stopovers in Austria and Switzerland, in the first fortnight of March.
The second case is also a Mozambican man in his 30s, resident in Maputo, who returned from a visit to Dubai, with a stopover in South Africa in the first half of March.
Of the five confirmed cases of Covid-19, four were almost certainly infected outside the country, while only one acquired the disease locally.
Both of the new cases, the Ministry said, are only displaying "slight symptoms". This does not justify hospitalisation, and so they are being kept in home quarantine, in accordance with WHO guidelines.
The people whom the two new Covid-19 cases contacted after their return to Maputo are being traced. Once the three earlier cases are included, 61 contacts are being monitored to check whether any of them are also infected.
The INS has so far tested 77 people suspected of carrying coronavirus, ten of them in the 24 hours prior to Tiago's press conerence. The results from all were negative.
Thanks to surveillance of the border posts, a total of 377,128 people have been screened. 1,599 were ordered to undergo 14 days of quarantine, and currently 663 remain quarantined, Tiago said.