Maputo — The situation of the Covid-19 pandemic improved significantly in Mozambique in August, with a reduction in new cases of almost 50 per cent, in comparison with July.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Monday, the Deputy National Director of Public Health, Benigna Matsinhe, said that in July there had been 45,624 new cases of the disease diagnosed. But in the first 30 days of August the number of new cases fell to 24,025, a decline of 47.3 per cent.
The number of Covid-19 patients needing hospitalization fell from 1,953 in July to 974 in August, a fall of 50.1 per cent. Covid-19 mortality declined by 26.4 per cent, from 556 deaths in July to 409 in August.
Although these figures showed the disease was on a clear downwards trend, Matsinhe warned that triumphalism must be avoided, "since it might lead us to abandon the general measures of preventing and fighting against the disease".
Far from relaxing the preventive measures, they must be stepped up, she said, and all those who had received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, should make their way to the vaccination posts for the second dose.
Matsinhe announced that, in the previous 24 hours, 27,802 people had received the second dose. The number of people completely vaccinated has now reached 910,308.
Since the start of the pandemic, Matsinhe said, 848,174 people have been tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, 1,512 of them in the previous 24 hours. 1,322 of these tests yielded negative results, while 190 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This brought the number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in Mozambique to 146,053.
Of the new cases identified on Monday, 98 were men or boys and 92 were women or girls. 22 were children under the age of 15 and nine were over 65 years old. In five cases, no age information was available.
Monday's figures confirmed that the epicenter of the Mozambican epidemic has shifted to the north. 53.2 per cent of the new cases were from the four provinces north of the Zambezi - 63 in Niassa, 16 in Zambezia, 11 in Cabo Delgado and 11 in Nampula.
The seven provinces of southern and central Mozambique provided only 46.8 per cent of the cases. For the second consecutive day no cases at all were reported from Tete or Manica. There were 36 cases from Maputo city, 32 from Gaza, 13 from Inhambane, seven from Sofala and just one from Maputo province.
The positivity rate (the proportion of those tested found to be carrying the coronavirus) on Monday was 12.6 per cent, much the same as Sunday's rate of 12.5 per cent, and a sharp decline from Saturday's figure of 20 per cent.
The provinces with the highest positivity rates were Niassa (35.2 per cent), Zambezia (25.8 per cent), and Cabo Delgado (25 per cent). Apart from Tete and Manica, where there were no cases, the lowest rates were found in Maputo province (1.4 per cent) and Inhambane (5.2 per cent).
Matsinhe reported a further two deaths from Covid-19 - a 76 year old Mozambican woman, and a 62 year old Mozambican man, both of whom died in Maputo city. The total Covid-19 death toll in Mozambique now stands at 1,853.
Over the same 24 hour period, 14 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital (10 in Maputo, two in Zambezia, one in Sofala and one in Inhambane), and 11 new patients were admitted (five in Maputo, three in Niassa, two in Zambezia, and one in Matola).
The number of people under medical care in the Covid-19 treatment centres fell from 133 on Sunday to 128 on Monday. 66 of these patients (51.6 per cent) were in Maputo. There were also 13 patients in Niassa, 13 in Nampula, eight in Matola, seven in Zambezia, seven in Inhambane, five in Sofala, four in Gaza, three in Cabo Delgado and two in Manica. Tete remained the only province where no Covid-19 patients are hospitalised.
Of those hospitalised, 80 are men and 48 are women. 56 are over the age of 60 and 37 are in the 45-59 year age bracket.
Matsinhe described the clinical condition of 41 of these patients as "moderate". 75 are seriously ill, and 12 are in a critical state. Those 12 are in intensive care, and 161 patients are receiving supplementary oxygen.
Matsinhe announced that on Monday 864 people were declared fully recovered from Covid-19 (430 in Maputo province, 251 in Niassa, 95 in Gaza and 88 in Zambezia). The total number of recoveries now stands at 132,397, or 90.6 per cent of all those ever diagnosed with Covid-19 in Mozambique.
The number of active Covid-19 cases fell from 12,475 on Sunday to 11,799 on Monday, The geographical distribution of the active cases was as follows: Maputo province, 3,893 (33 per cent of the total); Maputo city, 3,218; Nampula, 1,656; Inhambane, 989; Niassa, 668; Zambezia, 463; Cabo Delgado, 416; Gaza, 325; Sofala, 104; Tete, 34; and Manica 33.