Maputo — According to the National Health Institute (INS), 3.56 per cent of the population in the southern Mozambican city of Matola have been in contact with the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Matola is the ninth city in which the INS has held an epidemiological survey to estimate the extent to which the coronavirus has spread, and which groups are worst affected.
The survey takes the form of a simple blood test. This does not show whether the person tested is currently infected by the virus. But it does show whether he is carrying coronavirus antibodies in his bloodstream and has thus been in contact with the virus.
The survey took a random sample of Matola households, but also studied specific professional groups, such as health workers, market sellers and transport operators. The survey ran from 14 September to 19 October, and the sample size was 8,536.
Presenting the preliminary results on Wednesday, INS staff member Ivalda Macicame said that, when the sample was broken down by age, the worst affected group was adults aged between 35 and 59. 4.5 per cent of this group were carrying the coronavirus antibodies. Among people aged 60 and above, the prevalence was 3.85 per cent.
3.91 per cent of individuals aged between 15 and 35 had been exposed to the coronavirus, and 2.35 per cent of children under the age of 15.
In geographical terms, the worst affected area was the Matola City administrative post, with a prevalence of the antibodies of 3.7 per cent, followed by Machava (3.5 per cent). At the lower level of neighbourhood, the highest exposure rates were in Machava-sede (6.61 per cent), Zona Verde (6.5 per cent), and Matola-B (6.35 per cent).
Among the professional groups, the highest exposure rates were found among pharmacists (12.5 per cent) and preventive medicine staff (11.11) per cent. Among drivers of the three wheel taxis known as "txopelas" the exposure rate was 7.41 per cent.
Most of the people exposed to the virus are asymptomatic, said Macicame, and about a third of the Matola population do not wear masks, although wearing masks in public places is supposed to be obligatory.