President Filipe Nyusi has tested positive for the coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease Covid-19 and has gone into isolation. A statement from President Nyusi's office on 3 January said that after travelling to various parts of the country in the final days of 2021 and meeting with various interest groups, President Nyusi and his wife, First Lady Isaura Nyusi, have tested positive for Covid-19 using a rapid test. Although neither are showing any symptoms, they have gone into isolation while they await the definitive results from a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test.
The presidential statement concluded by urging all Mozambicans to obey preventive measures against Covid-19. Everyone over the age of 18, President Nyusi added, should ensure that they are vaccinated against the disease.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has announced an alarming increase in the positivity rate (the percentage of people tested who are found to be carrying the virus) from 39.2 per cent on 2 January to 45.76 per cent on 3 January.
According to a press release from the Ministry, 918 people tested positive for the virus over the past 24 hours. This brings the total number of Covid-19 cases diagnosed in Mozambique to 193,371. Of the cases identified on 3 January, for the first time the majority of new cases were not from Maputo city and province, but from the central region. There were 196 cases from Manica, and 136 from Sofala. Between them, these two central provinces accounted for 36.2 per cent of the new cases. There were also 108 cases from Nampula, 99 from Gaza, 96 from Maputo city, 93 from Inhambane, 77 from Maputo province, 40 from Zambezia, 36 from Cabo Delgado, 34 from Niassa and three from Tete. The Ministry also reported 12 further deaths from Covid-19.
According to data from the Ministry, the Omicron variant is now the dominant strain in Mozambique. It states that the Beta variant, first detected in Mozambique in July 2020, dominated the Mozambican epidemic between January and May 2021. The Delta variant was detected in April 2021 and became the dominant strain between June and August. But it has now been displaced by the Omicron variant, first detected in November.
"The Beta and Delta variants were detected in Maputo and Tete respectively, and then spread throughout the country", the INS said. Omicron was also first detected in Maputo but is now known to be circulating in the northern province of Nampula, the central province of Zambezia and the southern province of Inhambane.