Maputo — The reckless Mozambican Christmas and New Year festivities are continuing to take their toll, with a soaring number of infections by the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health reported a further 578 cases of Covid-19, and five more deaths from the disease. The latest victims were four Mozambican men aged 49, 73, 75 and 80 and a Mozambican woman aged 73. All had been hospitalised in Maputo city health units, where doctors proved unable to save them. Two were declared dead on Friday, and three on Saturday.
This brings the Covid-19 death toll in Mozambique to 192. 155 of these deaths (80.7 per cent) took place in Maputo.
A Ministry of Health press release said that, since the start of the pandemic, 288,674 people have been tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, 2,425 of them in the previous 24 hours. Of the samples tested, 869 were from Maputo city, 661 from Cabo Delgado, 209 from Nampula, 161 from Gaza, 130 from Sofala, 122 from Maputo province, 100 from Inhambane, 91 from Zambezia, 77 from Tete and five from Manica. No tests were reported from Niassa.
1,847 of the tests gave negative results and 578 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This brings the total number of positive cases diagnosed in Mozambique to 21,939.
536 of the new cases are Mozambican, five are South African, two are Portuguese, one is Chinese, one German, one Spanish, one Belgian, one Canadian and one from the United States. In 29 cases, their nationality has yet to be ascertained.
292 of the cases are men or boys, and 286 are women or girls, 68 are children under the age of 15, and 26 are over 65 years old. In eight cases, no age information was available.
Once again, the great majority of the cases were from the far south - 293 from Maputo city and 51 from Maputo province. Thus Maputo city and province accounted for 59.5 per cent of the cases reported on Sunday. There were also 69 cases from Nampula, 54 from Gaza, 43 from Sofala, 35 from Tete, 13 from Zambezia, 11 from Inhambane and nine from Cabo Delgado. No cases were reported from Manica or Niassa (in the latter case, there were no cases because there were no tests).
23.8 per cent of all those tested on Sunday were positive for the coronavirus. This compares with 27.8 per cent on Saturday, and 22.6 per cent on Friday. Over the three day period, 1,978 people tested positive - far and away the highest figure for any three day period since the first case was diagnosed on 22 March last year.
Health officials are in no doubt that this alarming spurt in infections is related with relaxation of the Covid-19 preventive measures over the festive season, when people disrespected the rules on social distancing, on avoiding crowds, and on wearing masks.
The Ministry release announced that, in the previous 24 hours, 16 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital, all of them in Maputo city. But 25 new patients were admitted - 22 in Maputo city, one in Cabo Delgado, one in Tete, and one in Gaza. There are now 114 people under medical care in the Covid-19 isolation wards (93 in Maputo, six in Tete, four in Zambezia, three in Nampula, three in Manica, two in Gaza, one in Matola, one in Cabo Delgado and one in Sofala).
In the same 24 hour period, a further 14 people made a full recovery from Covid-19, all of them in Zambezia. The number of recoveries now stands at 17,535 - which is 79.9 per cent of all people diagnosed with the coronavirus in Mozambique.
Since the number of recoveries in recent days has been much smaller than the number of new cases diagnosed, the number of active Covid-19 cases in Mozambique has risen sharply. It now stands at the record figure of 4,208. The active cases are distributed as follows: Maputo city, 2,487 (59.3 per cent of the total); Maputo province, 390; Sofala, 251; Nampula, 214; Cabo Delgado, 166; Inhambane, 143; Manica, 125; Tete, 113; Zambezia, 112; Niassa, 103; Gaza, 94.
The Ministry release added "With our country recording increases in the number of Covid-19 cases, of patients hospitalised in the health units, of active cases, and, unfortunately, of deaths, we want once again to remind everyone that the correct use of masks is one of the effective forms of preventing and fighting against the coronavirus".
As long as the mask covers completely the nose, mouth and chin, the release added "it serves as a physical barrier and its effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 has been scientifically proven".