Maputo — The Mozambican Ministry of Health expects to present, by Friday at the latest, a preliminary report on a possible Coronavirus outbreak in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, announced the Deputy General Director of the National Health Institute (INS), Eduardo Samo Gudo, at a Maputo press conference on Tuesday.
Last week, an employee of Total, the French company heading a consortium that plans to exploit liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Cabo Delgado, tested positive for coronavirus. A mission from the Health Ministry went to Cabo Delgado and has been able to identify 63 people who were in close contact with the infected man.
Samo Gudo said that 33 samples from these contacts arrived in Maputo on Monday afternoon. They have been tested in the INS Maputo laboratory and, since it takes 24 hours to process the samples, the results were not yet ready.
"The team is still in Cabo Delgado carrying out the investigations", said Samo Gudo. "It will return this week".
The National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, said that, to date, 424 suspect cases have been tested. 57 of these tests had taken place in the last 24 hours, and all were negative. Thus Mozambique's coronavirus statistics remain: 10 confirmed cases, of which one has made a complete recovery, and no deaths.
The authorities had been following 139 people who had been in contact with the confirmed cases. 15 of these, Marlene said, came out of quarantine on Monday, and none had developed corona virus symptoms. That leaves 124 contacts still in quarantine and being monitored by health professionals.
The spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Orlando Mudumane also addressed the press conference. He said that 25 people have been arrested for violating the state of emergency in force since 1 April.
The arrests took place in Maputo City and in Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Zambezia and Sofala provinces. Mudumane warned that the police will make further arrests in the event of citizens breaking the state of emergency rules laid down by the government.
He added that the police had forcibly closed down 78 establishments, and had seized three vehicles, 27 motorbikes and 284 bicycles. As part of the measures to fight against Covid-19, he respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus first identified in December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the government banned the use of bicycles and motorbikes as taxis, because of the close proximity of the cyclist to his passenger.
The cyclists protested that they had no other source of income, and continued, over the weekend, to offer taxi services.
Mudumane said the police tried to make them aware of the risks they were running, but they continued to defy the state of emergency. On Monday, in Nampula, Zambezia and Sofala, the police fired into the air to disperse dozens of cyclists and motor-cyclists who refused to abandon their business.