Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities reported on Sunday that the number of people diagnosed with the Covid-19 respiratory disease in the previous 24 hours - 341 - broke all records.
The previous record was on 28 November, when 305 cases were diagnosed in a 24 hour period.
Inevitably, this sudden spike in cases will be blamed on the abandonment of protective measures against Covid-19 during the festive season. Despite all the warnings given by the health ministry, many people celebrated Christmas and the New Year, as if 2020 were no different from any previous year.
Footage of the festivities on television news programmes showed that caution had been thrown to the winds. There was no sign of any distancing, and almost nobody was wearing masks - although masks are supposed to be obligatory in crowded public places.
According to a Ministry of Health press release, since the start of the pandemic, 276,077 people have been tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, 1,331 of them in the previous 24 hours. Of the samples tested, 763 were from Maputo city, 263 from Cabo Delgado, 91 from Tete, 58 from Sofala, 55 from Maputo province, 52 from Nampula, 17 from Manica, 15 from Gaza, 12 from Zambezia, and four from Inhambane. No tests were reported from Niassa.
990 of these tests gave negative results, but 341 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This brings the total number of cases diagnosed in Mozambique to 19,309. Of the new cases, 297 are Mozambican, two are Portuguese and two are Lebanese. In the other 40 cases, the authorities have not yet confirmed their nationality.
182 of the cases are men or boys and 159 are women or girls. 32 are children under the age of 15, and 12 are over 65 years old. No age information was available in 12 cases.
The new cases came overwhelmingly from the far south - 244 from Maputo city and 50 from Maputo province. Between them Maputo city and province accounted for 86.2 per cent of all the cases. There were also 11 cases from Gaza, 10 from Zambezia, nine from Nampula, seven from Sofala, six from Tete, three from Manica and one from Inhambane.
The Ministry release reported another death from Covid-19. This latest victim was a 52 year old Mozambican women who had been hospitalised in a Maputo city health unit. She died on Sunday morning. The total number of Covid-19 deaths in Mozambique is now 169.
Over the previous 24 hours, three Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital (two in Tete and one in Sofala), but 15 new patients were admitted (13 in Maputo city, one in Tete and one in Sofala). Currently, 72 people are under medical care in the Covid-19 isolation wards (62 in Maputo, four in Nampula, two in Zambezia, two in Tete, one in Manica and one in Sofala). This is the largest number of Covid-19 patients ever placed in intensive care.
The Ministry reported that, over the same 24 hour period, a further 81 people made a full recovery from Covid-19 (44 in Maputo city, 33 in Maputo province, and four in Inhambane). This brings the total number of recoveries to 16,765 - which is 86.8 per cent of all those diagnosed with the coronavirus in Mozambique,
The current spurt of new cases means that the number of active cases has risen to 2,371. The geographical breakdown is as follows: Maputo city, 1,722 (72.6 per cent of the total); Maputo province, 198; Nampula, 121; Cabo Delgado, 94; Sofala, 70; Niassa, 45; Tete, 41; Zambezia, 33; Gaza, 22; Manica, 21; Inhambane, four.