Maputo — Mozambique on Monday recorded its first death from the Covid-19 respiratory disease, a 13 year old girl from the northern city of Nampula.
Speaking in Maputo at the Health Ministry's daily press conference on the Covid-19 crisis, the National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, said the child had suffered from various pre-existing chronic conditions, and had been hospitalized repeatedly. Her most recent hospitalization was three months ago.
She returned to hospital for what should have been a routine check-up last Wednesday. But since she was running a fever and was coughing, the Nampula doctors decided to test her for Covid-19. A sample was taken for testing on Friday, and sent for analysis to the laboratory of the National Health Institute (INS) in Marracuene, just outside Maputo.
The result came back on Monday, showing that the girl was indeed suffering from Covid-19. By that time, she was dead.
Marlene said that, since the start of the crisis, 8,786 suspect cases have been tested in Mozambique, 331 of them in the previous 24 hours.
117 of the samples tested came from Maputo city, 80 from Gaza, 39 from Tete, 27 from Nampula, 26 from Maputo province, 18 from Sofala, 13 from Zambezia, and 11 from Cabo Delgado.
316 of the samples were negative, but 15 tested positive for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, including the 13 year old from Nampula. All 15 are Mozambican citizens, and Marlene found it alarming that eight of the new cases are children under 15 years of age. Five of the cases are asymptomatic, and the other ten display mild to moderate symptoms.
In addition to the girl who died, two boys in the 5-14 age group tested positive in Nampula. Until last week, Nampula, which is the most populous province in the country, had recorded no cases of Covid-19. Now it has six cases.
In Cabo Delgado, four cases were diagnosed. One, a girl under the age of 15 in Palma town, is a contact of a previously diagnosed case. Another young girl, also a contact, lives in the provincial capital, Pemba. These are cases that indicate how the Heath Ministry's contact tracing strategy is bearing fruit.
A boy under the age of 15, and an adolescent in the 15-24 age group also tested positive in Pemba. They are not known to be connected to previous cases.
Two positive cases came from the central city of Beira - a man and a woman, both in the 15-24 age bracket. In Changara district, in Tete province, a woman in the 15-24 age group tested positive.
In the Gaza district of Mandlakaze, two people tested positive who were contacts of a Covid-19 positive case who had recently returned from South Africa. One is a woman aged over 60, and the second is a man in the 15-24 age bracket.
In Maputo city, a boy under the age of five, and a man in the 15-24 age bracket tested positive. In the neighbouring city of Matola, capital of Maputo province, another boy under five years old tested positive.
All the new cases are undergoing home isolation, and health staff are tracing their contacts, who must go into quarantine for 14 days. The new cases bring the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mozambique to 209.
Two Covid-19 cases have been hospitalized, but do not appear to be in any danger. One man who tested positive for the disease was hospitalised for causes not related to Covid-19. Marlene said he was discharged from hospital on Monday morning, and is continuing the regime of home isolation. He is displaying no symptoms of Covid-19.
The second case is a woman hospitalized in Inhambane province. She is clearly the same person who disobeyed the instruction to go into home isolation, and went to live with her boyfriend instead. She was tracked down and placed in institutional isolation in a district hospital under police guard.
Marlene said her medical condition is stable, showing mild symptoms, but without any fever.
Marlene also announced that a further 20 Covid-19 patients have made a full recovery. They are all men from the camp of the French oil and gas company Total, at the Afungi Peninsula in Cabo Delgado. The Total camp is at the centre of the largest known cluster of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Eight of these cases are Mozambicans, and the remainder are foreign nationals. They were all asymptomatic, and were kept in home isolation for as long as the infection lasted. These cases bring the number of people who have fully recovered to 71.
The breakdown by province of the 209 positive cases is as follows: Cabo Delgado, 116; Maputo city, 43; Maputo province, 22; Sofala, 12; Nampula, six; Tete, three; Inhambane, three; Gaza, three; Manica, one.
154 of the cases are men, and 54 are women. 165 are Mozambicans and 44 are foreign nationals.
As of Monday, the key Covid-19 statistics for Mozambique stood at: 209 confirmed cases, of which 71 have made a full recovery and 138 are active cases, one death and one person currently hospitalized.