Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities on Monday expressed concern at the rise in the number of cases of the Covid-19 respiratory disease reported over the past few days, warning that this could signal the advent of a third wave of the disease.
Addressing a Maputo press conference, the Deputy National Director of Public Health, Benigna Matsinhe, said the increase in cases worried the Ministry "because it might overturn all the efforts made by Mozambican society to restrict the spread of Covid-19".
There had been "a disastrous impact" of the second wave of the disease in January and February, she said, but then the pandemic had slowed down between March and May. Now the pace of the viral infection has picked up again.
Matsinhe said that, in the first fortnight of June, 773 new cases of Covid-19 had been diagnosed, compared with 442 in the same period in May. That was an increase in cases of 42.8 per cent.
These figures, she added, suggested "that people are failing to comply with the general preventive measures against Covid-19". She urged Mozambican citizens not to let their guard down, and not to imagine that the slowdown in infections meant that the pandemic is nearing its end.
The director of surveys in the National Health Institute (INS), Sergio Chicumbe, said it is premature to assert that Mozambique is already facing a third wave of the disease - but he warned that several of the neighbouring countries, notably South Africa, are already grappling with the third wave.
Past experience, he added, suggested that when a wave of transmission affects the neighbouring countries, it would not be long before it made its way to Mozambique.
Matsinhe said that, to date, 568,719 people have been tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, 618 of them in the previous 24 hours. Almost half of those tests (302) were carried out in Maputo city. There were also 81 tests in Maputo province, 58 in Gaza, 53 in Inhambane, 47 in Zambezia, 21 in Tete, 18 in Niassa, 10 in Cabo Delgado, and three in Sofala. No tests were reported from Nampula or Manica.
588 of the tests yielded negative results, and 30 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This brings the number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in Mozambique to 71,568.
All the new cases were Mozambican citizens. 16 were women and 14 were men. Three were children under the age of 15. Eight cases were from Maputo province, seven from Tete, five from Maputo province, five from Gaza, four from Inhambane and one from Niassa. There were no positive cases from the other five provinces.
The positivity rate (the proportion of those tested found to be infected) for Monday, was 4.9 per cent - a decline from the 8.2 per cent registered on Sunday and the 7.7 per cent on Saturday.
Matsinhe reported that, in the same 24 hour period, three Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital (two in Maputo and one in Tete), but six new cases were admitted (two in Maputo, two in Tete, one in Sofala and one in Inhambane).
The number of people under medical care in the Covid-19 treatment centres rose from 22 on Sunday to 25 on Monday. 16 of these patients (64 per cent) were in Maputo, three in Nampula, two in Matola, two in Tete, one in Sofala and one in Inhambane.
Matsinhe said that 13 of these patients were in a "moderate" clinical condition, ten are seriously ill, and two are in a critical condition. These two are in intensive care, and 16 are receiving supplementary oxygen.
Only eight people were declared fully recovered from Covid-19 on Monday (six in Sofala and two in Maputo province). This brings the total number of recoveries to 69,889, or 97.7 per cent of all those diagnosed with Covid-19 in Mozambique.
No deaths from Covid-19 were reported on Monday, and so the total Covid-19 death toll in Mozambique remains 841.
The number of active Covid-19 cases rose from 812 on Sunday to 834 on Monday. The geographical distribution of these cases was: Maputo city, 414 (49.6 per cent of the total); Tete, 164; Maputo province, 110; Inhambane, 59; Nampula, 22; Gaza, 17; Sofala, 16; Niassa. 11; Manica, nine; Cabo Delgado, seven; and Zambezia, five.