Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities on Tuesday reported a further 69 cases of the Covid-19 respiratory disease, mostly in Maputo city.
This relatively small number of new cases strengthens the belief in the National Health Institute (INS) that the Mozambican Covid-19 epidemic has passed its peak and is now in decline. Interviewed on Radio Mozambique on Wednesday morning, the deputy director of the INS, Eduardo Samo Gudo, said the peak was reached on 28 September, when, in a single 24 hour period, 305 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
In the last week of September, 1,071 people had been diagnosed with the disease, 37 people had been hospitalised in isolation wards, and 14 Covid-19 patients had lost their lives. This was the worst week of the disease Mozambique had experienced - but subsequently the average number of cases diagnosed per day has declined. In November only half as many cases were diagnosed as in September.
Samo Gudo said the Mozambican health authorities had succeeded in delaying the peak of the epidemic by five and a half months, thus ensuring that the health service was not overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases. He attributed this success to Mozambique's speedy response: when the first state of emergency was declared, there were only eight known cases of the disease in the country.
The immediate imposition of preventive measures, such as banning all large gatherings, shutting down all schools and universities, closing bars, night clubs and the like, and insisting on social distancing, may have halted the spread of the disease.
Samo Gudo insisted that success was no grounds for complacency. Preventive measures needed to remain in place to ensure that there would be no "second wave" of the disease, as is now ravaging parts of Europe.
In its Tuesday press release, summarizing latest developments, the Health Ministry said that, since the start of the pandemic, 232,684 people had been tested for the coronavirus, 1,553 of them in the previous 24 hours.
Of the samples tested, 1,162 were from Maputo city, 123 from Niassa, 116 from Maputo province, 56 from Nampula, 30 from Cabo Delgado, 22 from Sofala, 18 from Zambezia, 17 from Manica, eight from Gaza, and one from Tete.
1,484 of the tests gave negative results, and 69 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This brings the number of positive cases, since the first one was diagnosed on 22 March, to 15,770. Of the new cases, 67 are Mozambicans, one is a South African, and one is a foreigner whose nationality has not yet been determined.
40 of the cases are men or boys and 29 are women or girls. Nine are children under the age of 15, and three are over the age of 65. 41 are from Maputo city (almost 60 per cent of the new cases). There were also 13 cases from Sofala, seven from Gaza, four from Niassa, three from Zambezia and one from Tete.
In line with standard Ministry of Health procedure, all 69 new cases are in home isolation and their contacts are being traced.
The release said that, in the same 24 hour period, four Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital, but three others were admitted, all in Maputo city. Currently, 44 people are under medical care in Covid-19 isolation wards (39 in Maputo, one in Matola and four in Zambezia).
The Ministry also reported that a further 49 people have made a full recovery from Covid-19 (21 in Zambezia, 13 in Maputo city, seven from Tete, seven from Manica and one from Inhambane). The number of recoveries now stands at 13,778 (87.4 per cent of all those diagnosed with the coronavirus in Mozambique).
There are 1,857 active Covid-19 cases. Their breakdown is as follows: Maputo city, 1,631 (87.8 per cent of all active cases); Cabo Delgado, 57; Sofala, 43; Gaza, 40; Nampula, 28; Maputo province, 15; Zambezia, 15; Niassa, nine; Inhambane, eight; Manica, eight; Tete, three.
No further deaths were reported in this period, and so the Covid-19 death toll in Mozambique remains 131.