Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities on Wednesday reported a further 20 deaths from the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Wednesday thus ties with last Sunday for the unenviable record of the 24 hour period with largest number of Covid-19 deaths. The previous highest number was 19, reported on 1 February.
Eleven of the latest victims were men and nine were women. They were all Mozambican citizens and aged between 22 and 90. 16 of the deaths occurred in Maputo city, three in Maputo province and one in Sofala.
The total death toll from Covid-19 in Mozambique now stands at 1,033. The number of deaths in the first 14 days of July was 155. This is approaching double the number of deaths recorded in the entire preceding three months (85 - 44 in June, 22 in May and 19 in April).
According to a Wednesday press release from the Ministry of Health, since the start of the pandemic, 621,245 people have been tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, 4,407 of them in the preceding 24 hours.
A clear majority of the samples tested came from the Covid-19 hotspots of Maputo and Tete - 1,657 from Maputo city, 610 from Maputo province and 519 from Tete. These three provinces accounted for 63.2 per cent of the tests.
There were also 340 tests from Inhambane, 327 from Nampula, 223 from Sofala, 211 from Gaza, 197 from Manica, 181 from Zambezia, 86 from Cabo Delgado and 56 from Niassa.
2,864 of the tests gave negative results and 1,543 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This was the third highest number of positive cases ever recorded in Mozambique, surpassed only by the figures of 1,687 on Monday, and 1,686 last Saturday. The total number of Covid-19 cases diagnosed in the country now stands at 93,429.
Over two thirds of the new cases diagnosed on Wednesday came from Maputo and Tete - 657 from Maputo city, 253 from Maputo province and 155 from Tete. These three provinces accounted for 69 per cent of the positive cases.
There were also 176 cases from Inhambane, 88 from Gaza, 74 from Sofala, 65 from Manica, 25 from Zambezia, 24 from Nampula, 22 from Niassa and four from Cabo Delgado.
The national positivity rate (the proportion of those tested found to be infected with the virus) on Wednesday was 35 per cent, an increase on the 30.8 per cent found on Tuesday, but much lower than Monday's rate of 45.1 per cent.
Broken down by provinces, the highest positivity rate on Wednesday was 51.8 per cent, found in Inhambane, followed by Gaza (41.7 per cent), Maputo province (41.5 per cent), Maputo city (39.6 per cent), Niassa (39.3 per cent), Sofala (33.2 per cent), Manica (33 per cent), and Tete (29.9 per cent).
The lowest positivity rates came from the north - 4.6 per cent in Cabo Delgado and 7.3 per cent in Nampula.
Over the same 24 hour period, 29 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital (14 from Maputo, four from Matola, four from Manica, three from Tete, three from Sofala, and one from Gaza). But 96 new patients entered the Covid-19 wards (56 in Maputo, 16 in Matola, 11 in Sofala, four in Tete, three in Manica, two in Zambezia, two in Gaza, one in Niassa and one in Inhambane).
The number of patients under medical care in the Covid-19 treatment centres rose from 372 on Tuesday to 419 on Wednesday - a new record for the number of Covid-19 cases hospitalised. 285 of these patients (68 per cent) were in Maputo, 44 in Sofala, 37 in Matola, 21 in Tete, eight in Gaza, six each in Zambezia, Manica and Inhambane, four in Niassa, and two in Nampula.
This large inflow of new patients is putting a heavy strain on hospital services, particularly in the greater Maputo area.
On Wednesday, 181 people were declared to have made a full recovery from Covid-19 (106 in Maputo province, and 75 in Inhambane). The total number of recoveries now stands at 74,392, which is 79.6 per cent of all those ever diagnosed with Covid-19 in Mozambique.
The number of new cases continues to greatly surpass the number of recoveries, and so the number of active Covid-19 cases continues to rise remorselessly - from 16,658 on Tuesday to exactly 18,000 on Wednesday. The geographical distribution of the active cases was as follows: Maputo city, 9,727 (54 per cent of the total); Tete, 2,360; Maputo province, 2,331; Gaza, 935; Manica, 651; Sofala, 651; Inhambane, 610; Niassa, 450; Zambezia, 137; Nampula, 118; and Cabo Delgado, 30.