Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities on Monday reported a further three deaths from the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference, the Deputy National Director of Public Health, Beningna Matsinhe, said the latest three victims were Mozambican men aged 43, 63 and 75. They had all been hospitalised in Maputo city but, despite medical care, their condition deteriorated. Two of them died on Sunday and one on Monday morning.
This brings the total death toll from Covid-19 in Mozambique to 136. Of the deaths, 105 (77 per cent) occurred in the capital. In no other province does the death toll reach double figures.
Matsinhe said that, since the start of the pandemic, 239,164 people have been tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, 802 of them in the previous 24 hours. Of the samples tested, 309 were from Maputo city, 96 from Gaza, 81 from Maputo province, 77 from Tete, 72 from Cabo Delgado, 58 from Sofala, 49 from Manica, 33 from Niassa, and 27 from Zambezia. No samples from Nampula or Inhambane were tested.
720 of the tests gave negative results, and 82 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This brings the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mozambique since the first case was diagnosed on 22 March to 16,326.
All 82 new cases are Mozambicans. Six returned recently from South Africa and are believed to have imported the disease from there. 44 of the cases are men or boys and 38 are women or girls. Nine are children under the age of 15 and seven are over the age of 65.
Once again, the figures confirm that the Mozambican Covid-19 epidemic is centred on and around the capital. 29 cases were from Maputo city and 33 from Maputo province. So between them Maputo city and province accounted for 75.6 per cent of the new cases. There were also 14 cases from Zambezia, four from Gaza, one from Niassa and one from Manica.
Matsinhe said that, in line with standard Health Ministry procedure, all 82 new cases are now in home isolation, and their contacts are being traced.
In the previous 24 hours, two Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital, and two others were admitted, all in Maputo. The number of people under medical care in the Covid-19 isolation wards is thus 40 (33 in Maputo, two in Matola, four in Zambezia and one in Tete).
Matsinhe said 22 of those hospitalised are male and 18 are female. One is a child under five years of age, three are youths aged between 15 and 24, 24 are adults aged between 25 and 59, and 12 are over 60 years old.
The clinical state of 24 patients is said to be "moderate", while 13 are seriously ill and three are in a critical condition.
Matsinhe said that, in the same 24 hour period, 13 people have made a full recovery from Covid-19 (seven in Zambezia and six in Tete). This brings the total number of recoveries to 14,429, which is 88.4 per cent of all people diagnosed with the coronavirus in Mozambique since the start of the pandemic.
There are now 1,757 active cases, distributed as follows: Maputo city, 1,459 (83 per cent of the total); Cabo Delgado, 75; Maputo province, 65; Gaza, 53; Inhambane, 29; Zambezia, 25; Nampula, 14; Tete, 13; Manica, 13; Niassa, 11. For the third consecutive day, there are no active cases in Sofala.
Matsinhe said the recent figures show a slowdown in the reported number of new cases, but this did not mean that Covid-19 is disappearing. Despite the decline in the daily number of cases reported, the death toll from the disease is still rising, she said, with Maputo city a particular cause for concern.
She urged all Mozambicans "to value the gains the country has made in the fight against Covid-19, which are the results of months of struggle to mitigate the disease".
She urged all citizens to remain firm in complying with the measures of prevention against Covid-19, "particularly in this festive month of December".
Matsinhe warned that relaxation of these measures (which include regular hand washing, social distancing, wearing of masks in public places, and limiting the number of people attending events) "could have devastating effects".