Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, speaking to the nation on Thursday night, announced a relaxation in the travel restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an attempt to revive the ailing tourism industry, Mozambican diplomatic missions can now resume the issuing of tourist visas. Nyusi did not make clear whether tourist visas would be available at the airports and other points of entry, as they were before the pandemic.
The quarantine requirements have been relaxed. Any traveller who enters Mozambique with a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for Covid-19, held within the previous 24 hours, will be exempt from quarantine. Children under eleven years of age will be exempt from presenting a Covid-19 test in entering the country.
The validity of the PCR test will now be for 14 days in order to make life easier for anyone, Mozambican or foreign, who needs multiple entries into Mozambique in a short period of time.
Travellers who do not present a test result at the border will be obliged to go into quarantine for 14 days, or to take the test at their own expense.
Nyusi also announced that the national championships in all forms of sport will resume as from 15 November - but in the initial phase there will be no spectators, and the teams will be playing to empty stadiums.
"The decision on opening games to the public will depend on the evolution of the indicators of the epidemic, and on the behaviour of the public", he added.
Summarising the evolution of the pandemic in Mozambique, Nyusi said that September and October had been marked by a rise in new infections, hospitalisations and deaths. In September, 4,812 new infections were registered, more than double the number of new cases reported in August.
In October, so far 3,622 new infections had been reported, less than in September, but much higher than the August figure.
There were 38 Covid-19 deaths in September, more than three times the number notified in August.
There is "intensive transmission" of the disease in Maputo, said Nyusi. The city accounted for 96.9 per cent of all Covid-19 hospitalisations, and 85.3 per cent of deaths in September and October.
The preventive measures currently in force to restrict the spread of Covid-19 will be maintained, Nyusi said. He believed the preventive measures had been successful in delaying the peak of the epidemic in Mozambique and thus protecting the national health system.
He insisted that such basic measures as wearing masks in public places, social distancing, and frequent washing of hands, must remain in force. Nyusi made it clear he expects the police to enforce the rules on masks and on not overcrowding buses and minibuses. The health authorities must also step up their monitoring role, ensuring that citizens obey instructions to go into quarantine or isolation.