Maputo — Mozambique's National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, on Monday announced that another patient has died from the Covid-19 respiratory disease, bringing the Covid-19 death toll up to six.
Speaking at the Ministry of Health's daily press conference on the Covid-19 situation, Marlene said the victim was a 37 year old man, who was hospitalised on Sunday in the isolation ward in the northern city of Nampula.
He had been transferred from another health unit, where he had been admitted because of other, unspecified, serious illnesses. The man was tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 on Wednesday, and the positive result was known on Saturday (the delay is because the sample had to be tested in Maputo).
He was transferred to the isolation ward, but too late to make any difference, and he died some hours later on Sunday.
Marlene said that, since the first Covid-19 case was diagnosed on 22 March, 29,343 people have been tested, 757 of them in the previous 24 hours. 480 of these were tested in public facilities and 377 in private laboratories.
Of the samples tested in the public sector, 112 were from Nampula, 95 from Maputo City, 89 from Inhambane, 75 from Cabo Delgado, 53 from Niassa, 45 from Sofala, seven from Maputo province, two from Zambezia, one from Gaza and one from Manica. No similar breakdown was given for the tests in the private sector.
Of the 757 tests, 733 were negative and 24 were positive for Covid-19. This brings the total number of positive cases to 883.
All the new cases are of Mozambican nationality. 13 are men or boys and 11 are women or girls. One is a child under five years of age, and two are adolescents aged between 15 and 24. 20 are adults aged between 25 and 64, and one is over 65 years old.
16 of the new cases are from Nampula city, and five cases are from Pemba, capital of Cabo Delgado province. These two cities are the only parts of Mozambique where Covid-19 has made the transition from an epidemic with foci of transmission to an epidemic with community transmission.
One case was from the Cabo Delgado district of Mueda, and two were from Maputo city. Some of the new cases were discovered thanks to the work of tracing contacts of people who had already tested positive for Covid-19, and others were diagnosed after screening people visiting the health units (notably those complaining of respiratory problems).
In line with standard Ministry of Health procedure, all 24 new cases are undergoing home isolation, and their contacts are being traced.
Marlene said that five Covid-19 patients remain hospitalised in isolation wards. All are suffering from other serious illnesses as well as Covid-19. Two of these patients are in Nampula, one is in Maputo, one in Beira and one in Gaza.
Another patient, a Mozambican woman in Inhambane, has made a full recovery from Covid-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 229.
As of Monday the breakdown of the 883 positive cases by province was as follows: Nampula, 293, Cabo Delgado, 267; Maputo city, 138; Maputo Province, 96; Tete, 23; Sofala, 21; Niassa, 14; Inhambane, 13; Zambezia, eight; Gaza, seven; Manica, three. The two worst affected provinces, Nampula and Cabo Delgado, account for over 63 per cent of all cases.
The main Covid-19 statistics for Mozambique are now: 883 confirmed cases, of whom 229 have made a full recovery, and 646 are active cases. In addition, eight Covid-19 patients have died, six from the disease itself, and two from other pathologies.
Immediately before Marlene spoke, the head of the Ministry of Health's Communications Department, Nelson Belarmino, announced that this would be the last of the Ministry's daily press conferences.
Thus an unprecedented exercise in transparency is coming to an end. Never before has any Mozambican ministry kept the press and public briefed about any issue for seven days a week over a period of more than three months. The first press conference was held on 21 March
Belarmino said that, from now on, press conferences on the Covid-19 crisis will only be held twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. On other days, the Ministry will issue press releases, updating the Covid-19 figures. Belarmino gave no explanation for this change.