Maputo — The number of confirmed cases of the respiratory disease Covid-19 in Mozambique has risen from eight to ten, according to the National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Wednesday, she said the two new cases were detected by tests carried out over the last 24 hours in private laboratories.
One case is a Mozambican student, aged over 18, studying in Portugal, and the second is a South African woman aged over 60. Both are resident in Maputo, but are believed to have been infected with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 outside the country. This means that, of the ten conformed cases, eight were imported, and two were cases of local transmission.
The health authorities do not yet have details on the people whom the latest two cases may have contacted, and Marleyn said the work of contact tracing is under way. "Our surveillance teams are under taking more investigations on the ground to obtain further details", she said.
Prior to the new cases, health staff were monitoring 124 contacts of the people confirmed as infected, and who should be in obligatory home quarantine. Marlene said the number of health teams accompanying people in quarantine must be increased.
She added that, in the previous 24 hours the National Health Institute (INS) tested 17 people, and all were negative for Covid-19. In total, the INS has so far tested 284 people suspected of carrying the coronavirus.
Although there are so far no cases of Covid-19 who need to be hospitalised, the Health Ministry has set up 14 treatment centres, with 536 beds, which will be used for the isolation of coronavirus patients, if necessary.
"All the country's provinces have identified a place for the treatment of coronavirus patients", said the deputy national director of medical assistance, Elenia Amado, in an interview with Radio Mozambique.
Among the units reserved for coronavirus patients are the general hospital in the outer Maputo suburb of Polana-Canico, and the Ophthalmology Services of Maputo Central Hospital, with a capacity of 60 and 40 beds respectively.
In Maputo province, the Matola-1 and the Marracuene health centres are available, while in Gaza Covid-19 patients can be cared for in the Maciene health centre. In Inhambane, coronavirus patients will be sent to the Vilankulo and Jangamo district hospitals.
In the centre of the country, beds for Covid-19 patients are pepared in the Chissue psychiatric hospital in Manica, the Inhamizua health centre in Beira, and the Urban Health Centre Number Two in Tete city.
As for the northern provinces, capacity for Covid-19 is being prepared at the Nampula Psychiatric Hospital, the 18 October Health Centre in Pemba, and the Food and Water Laboratory in Lichinga.
A team had been trained abroad in the treatment package designed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and were now training other Mozambican doctors inside the country. "We are training trainers in all the provinces", said Amado.
She added that individual protection equipment for health professionals dealing with Covid-19 is also available in all the provinces.
One preventive measure is a ban on hospital visits. "There cannot be groups of people", said Amado. "If people let the hospital function normally, we will have lots of people entering the hospital in an environment of risk".
Visitors might inadvertently spread the virus within the hospital. "So these measures to restrict the movement of people are extremely important to control the epidemic", said Amado.