Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities have warned that the increased mobility of the population in the country's urban centres in recent weeks could create the conditions for a third wave of the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
At the opening in Maputo on Wednesday of the country's Second Scientific Conference on Covid-19, the deputy director of the National Health Institute (INS), Eduardo Samo Gudo, said "There has been a worrying increase in urban mobility in recent weeks. People are spending less time at home, and this is increasing the number of Covid-19 cases per thousand inhabitants, particularly in Maputo city and province and in Tete".
"A further aspect is what is happening in the region, where three countries are already facing the third wave, and this could be repeated in Mozambique", he added. The countries battling he third wave are South Africa, Namibia and Zambia, and in these countries three strains of the virus are in circulation.
Given that both South Africa and Zambia border on Mozambique, there is the potential for an exponential increase in Covid-19 cases in the country.
Health Minister Armindo Tiago said the country is prepared for the worst scenario of a third wave. He guaranteed that the health authorities will do all in their power to ensure hospitalisation and treatment of those who fall ill in the third wave.
"As the health sector, we want to be ready for the worst case, because only in this way can we protect society from the impacts of the pandemic", he stressed. "This readiness should not be built on a basis of panic, but on realism, and informed by the scientific evidence".
Tiago said that, to confront the third wave, implementation of the Covid-19 prevention measures must be boosted, and the health system must be strengthened to deal with a possible increase in the number of patients hospitalised.
Nobody should be under any illusion that the pandemic has already been beaten in Mozambique, the Minister warned, and there should be no relaxation of preventive measures. Otherwise the country might face dramatic consequences, as can be seen in parts of Lain America and Asia.
Relaxation can readily be seen in the streets of Maputo and other cities, where many people have stopped wearing masks, and there is little attempt at social distancing, particularly as would-be passengers rush to catch overcrowded buses.