Mozambique: Maputo Mayor Admits He Had COVID-19

Maputo — The Mayor of Maputo, Eneas Comiche, publicly announced on Monday that he had been infected by the new coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease, but that he has now completely recovered and has resumed all his mayoral duties.

Comiche addressed the media about his state of health from the steps of Maputo Municipal Council. Alongside him was his wife, Lucia Comiche, who had, in late March, become the first prominent Mozambican to announce that she had Covid-19.

"I feel obliged to clarify matters about the situation in which I and my wife have been involved in recent weeks concerning pour health", said the Mayor. "We made clinical analyses and I received three positive results, two in my own name and one in the name of my wife".

He said he had been tested at the National Health Institute (INS) on 20 March and again on 23 March, but did not receive the result in the normal time (usually the results from the INS are available within 24 hours). This delay, he said, opened the path to a wave of speculation about his health, which created a sense of unease in his family, in the Municipal Council, and among members of the Frelimo Party and state officials, with who he had been in contact after a visit to London.

He said he received the result from the 20 March test by email on 26 March, and the emailed result of the 23 March test on 4 April. On 6 April he received the result of his wife's test, made on 23 March.

He was then hospitalised in Maputo's Heart Institute (ICOR), while his wife went into home isolation under medical supervision.

Comiche said he had apologised to his wife for infecting her and was pleased to discover that he had not infected anybody else. Other members of his family, and colleagues whom he worked with closely had been tested and the results were all negative.

It had long been suspected that Comiche was the country's first case of Covid-19, reported publicly by the Health Minister, Armindo Tiago, on 22 March. Tiago described this case as a man over 75 years old who had returned from a trip to the United Kingdom in mid-March - a description which fitted Comiche.

Comiche had returned from London on 13 March, after a meeting at which Prince Albert of Monaco was also present. The prince tested positive for Covid-19 shortly afterwards.

Lucia Comiche broke the news of her own infection on 24 March, when she phoned the independent television station TV and announced: "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".

In other words, she knew the result of her test within 24 hours, although Comiche says the result was not mailed to him until 6 April.

Addressing the citizens of Maputo, Comiche declared "Fellow countrymen, Covid-19 is real. It does not discriminate on the basis of family, race, religion, age, ethnic origin or social status. This disease can affect any one of us, and it is fatal".

Comiche and his wife are thus among the eight people infected by the disease who have made a full recovery.

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