Maputo — Mozambique's National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, on Thursday reported two more deaths from the Covid-19 respiratory disease, bringing the death toll in Mozambique since the start of the pandemic to 51.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference, Marlene said the two latest victims were Mozambican men, one aged 38 and the other 81 years old. Both were hospitalised in Maputo, and tested positive for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 on 13 and 18 September. Their condition continued to deteriorate, and the younger man died on Wednesday. On Thursday morning the older man also died.
Of the 51 known coronavirus deaths, 34 (two thirds) have occurred in Maputo city, and three in Maputo province. The other deaths have occurred in Nampula (five), Tete (two), Manica (two), Gaza (two), Cabo Delgado (one), Zambezia (one) and Sofala (one).
The pace of the Covid-19 epidemic in Mozambique picked up sharply in September. Marlene said that there has been an average of one death, five hospitalisations and 145 new cases of the disease every day this month. And in the last seven days, 12 deaths were reported.
Marlene said that, since the first case was diagnosed on 22 March, 130,060 people have been tested for the coronavirus, 1,255 of them in the previous 24 hours. 870 of the tests were administered in public facilities and 385 in private laboratories.
Of the samples tested, 615 were from Maputo city, 180 from Cabo Delgado, 142 from Maputo province, 122 from Nampula, 48 from Sofala, 42 from Manica, 41 from Zambezia, 40 from Tete, 22 from Gaza and three from Inhambane.
1,118 of these tests gave negative results, and 137 people tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of positive cases to 7,399. 131 of the new cases are Mozambicans and six are Indian nationals. 66 are men or boys and 61 are women or girls. Ten are children under 15 years of age, and three are over 65 years old.
The great majority of the new cases are from Maputo city (96) and Maputo province (18), thus confirming once more that the current epicenter of the Mozambican epidemic is in the far south of the country. There were also ten cases from Tete, six from Gaza, two from Sofala, and one each from Nampula, Zambezia and Inhambane.
In line with standard Ministry of Health procedure, all the new cases are in home isolation and their contacts are being traced.
Over the same 24 hour period, Marlene said, two Covid-19 patients have been discharged from hospital, one in Maputo city and one in Gaza. But nine others were admitted, all of them in Maputo. Currently 52 patients are under medical care in the Covid-19 isolation wards. 51 of them are in Maputo city and one is in Zambezia.
Marlene added that a further 208 people have made a full recovery from Covid-19 - 178 in Maputo city, 24 in Maputo province, three in Zambezia, two in Gaza and one in Tete. The total number of recoveries is now 4,558 - 61.6 per cent of all people who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
As of Thursday, the geographical breakdown of all 7,399 positive cases, by the provinces where they were diagnosed, was as follows: Maputo city, 3.182; Maputo province, 1,323; Cabo Delgado, 696; Nampula, 579; Zambezia, 376; Gaza, 313; Tete, 256; Sofala, 211; Niassa, 191; Inhambane, 167; Manica, 105.
The main Covid-19 statistics for Mozambique are now: 7,399 confirmed cases, of whom 4,558 have made a complete recovery, and 2,786 are active cases. 78.5 per cent of all the active cases are from Maputo city and province. 55 Covid-19 patients have died, 51 from the disease and four from other causes.
As Mozambique enters the summer months (summer began officially on Wednesday), the Health Ministry is openly alarmed at the prospect of large crowds gathering on the country's beaches, which reopened a fortnight ago.
Because Friday is a public holiday (the anniversary of the launch of the national liberation struggle), this will be a three day weekend, and temperatures are soaring. The maximum temperature in Maputo on Saturday is forecast to reach 38 degrees Celsius, and during the weekend maximum temperatures in Gaza and Inhambane might reach 42 degrees.
Marlene urged citizens to resist the temptation to go to the beaches "because these places are potential foci for transmission of the disease".
Anyone who did choose to go to the beach, she added, "should scrupulously observe the preventive measures against Covid-19". These include wearing face masks, and social distancing of at least 1.5 metres between individuals.
Marlene warned that the government has specifically banned collective sports and concerts on the beaches, as well as the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks.