Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities reported on Thursday that the number of active cases of the Covid-19 respiratory disease has topped 1,000 for the first time since 15 May.
The positivity rate - the proportion of those tested found to be infected - has also risen ominously, to almost ten per cent. And on Thursday, for the third day in less than a week, the number of new Covid-19 cases diagnosed was over 100.
According to a Thursday press release from the Health Ministry, since the start of the pandemic, 572,688 people have been tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. 1,666 of them in the previous 24 hours.
Of the samples tested, 636 (38.2 per cent) were from Maputo city. There were 163 tests from Inhambane, 159 from Niassa, 154 from Manica, 139 from Maputo province, 133 from Tete, 131 from Sofala, 84 from Nampula, 55 from Cabo Delgado, and 12 from Zambezia. No tests were reported from Gaza.
1,501 of the tests gave negative results, and 165 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This brings the total number of Covid-19 cases diagnosed in Mozambique to 71,929.
There were 113 new cases diagnosed on Wednesday, and 106 on Saturday. Prior to that, the last name the number of new cases had gone to over 100 was on 11 April.
Of the new cases reported on Thursday, 156 are known to be Mozambican citizens, two are foreigners (but the release did not reveal their nationalities), and in seven cases their nationality has yet to be confirmed. 87 were men or boys and 78 were women or girls. 19 were children under the age of 15 and seven were over 65 years old.
49 of the positive cases were from Maputo city and 28 from Maputo province. So between them Maputo city and province accounted for 47 per cent of all the new cases. There were also 45 cases from Tete, 22 from Niassa, nine from Sofala, five from Manica, three from Cabo Delgado, three from Inhambane, and one from Nampula.
The positivity rate reported on Thursday was 9.9 per cent, the highest so far this month. It compares with 8.6 per cent on Wednesday, 8.6 per cent on Tuesday, 4.9 per cent on Monday, 8.2 per cent on Sunday and 7.7 per cent on Saturday.
But this is the national average. In some provinces, the positivity rate was much higher - 33.8 per cent in Tete, 20.1 per cent in Maputo province, and 13.8 per cent in Niassa.
The Ministry release also reported that, in the same 24 hour period, five Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital, all in Maputo, but six new cases were admitted (three in Maputo, two in Inhambane and one in Sofala).
The number of people under medical care in the Covid-19 treatment centres rose from 32 on Wednesday to 33 on Thursday. 15 of these patients (45.5 per cent) are in Maputo, six in Tete, four in Sofala, three in Nampula, three in Inhambane and two in Matola.
The Ministry said that 29 people were declared fully recovered from Covid-19 on Thursday (18 in Maputo province, seven in Inhambane and four in Sofala). This brings the total number of recoveries to 70,028, or 97.4 per cent of those ever diagnosed with Covid-19 in Mozambique.
Since the number of new cases far outstrips the number of recoveries, the number of active Covid-19 cases has risen sharply, from 917 on Wednesday to 1,053 on Thursday. The geographical distribution of these cases was as follows: Maputo city, 515 (48.9 per cent of the total); Tete, 253; Maputo province, 102; Inhambane, 54; Niassa, 34; Sofala, 22; Cabo Delgado, 20; Nampula, 20; Gaza, 16; Manica, 15; and Zambezia two.
No deaths from Covid-19 were reported on Thursday, and so the Mozambican death toll from the disease remains 844.
The Ministry release reminded citizens that the use of face masks is obligatory in public places, particularly markets, buses and bus stops. It cited studies showing that, if 80 per cent of the population were to wear masks, the epidemic could be eliminated.