Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities believe the country is still a long way from reaching the peak of infection by the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Monday, the director of surveys at the National Health Institute (INS), Sergio Chicumbe, said "from our epidemiological analysis, we believe we have not yet reached the peak".
Holding back the peak has the effect of reducing the pressure on the Mozambican health service, but this period of grace may be coming to an end, as the number of new infections is beginning to rise sharply. This inevitably increases the number of people hospitalised and the number of deaths.
Thus in the previous 48 hours, Mozambique recorded 442 cases of Covid-19, 291 of them (66 per cent) in Maputo city. This is small by the standards of Europe, the United States or South Africa - but it is the largest increase in just two days that Mozambique has experienced since the first case was diagnosed on 22 March.
Chicumbe argued that this is a real increase in infections, and not a mere reflection of an increase in the number of people being tested for the coronavirus.
But the Health Ministry is confident that it has not yet been stretched to the limit. The Deputy National Director of Public Health, Benigna Matsinhe, told the press conference "We have not yet reached the end of our capacity to care for patients".
The health service was not at imminent risk of collapse - nonetheless, it was crucial that citizens "should comply with the measures of prevention in order to reduce the number of people who are hospitalised by this disease", said Matsinhe.
The fewer the number of people infected, the less will be the pressure on hospital capacity, she said.