High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique

Alarming increase in new Covid-19 cases

Maputo, 10 Jan (AIM) – Mozambique set dismal new records on 9 January for the number of cases and of deaths from the Covid-19 respiratory disease reported in a single 24 hour period. According to a Ministry of Health press release, 879 new infections were diagnosed, easily beating the record set on 8 January of 521 cases in a single day.

Six deaths were reported, all of them in Maputo City, in the same 24 hour period. This too is a record. Five of the victims were Mozambican, and one was South African. Four were men aged 44, 58. 60 and 77, and two were women aged 42 and 45.

Two of these deaths were declared on 8 January, and four on 9 January. This brings the total Covid-19 death toll in Mozambique to 187.

The soaring number of cases is clearly related to the abandonment of preventive measures against Covid-19 during the festive season, as the director of research at the National Health Institute (INS), Sergio Chicumbe, told reporters on Saturday.

As crowds danced over the Christmas and New Year holidays, they mostly neglected to wear masks, and ignored recommendations on social distancing.

The Ministry release said that, since the start of the pandemic, 286,249 people have been tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, 3,161 of them in the previous 24 hours. Of the samples tested, 1,226 were from Maputo city, 727 from Cabo Delgado, 260 from Inhambane, 240 from Sofala, 215 from Maputo province, 165 from Tete, 154 from Gaza, 93 from Zambezia, 51 from Manica and 30 from Nampula. No tests were reported from Niassa.

2,282 of the tests gave negative results, and 879 people tested positive for the coronavirus. 821 are Mozambicans, nine are South Africans, five Portuguese, four Zimbabweans, two British, two Indians, two Swazis and two Lebanese. There was also one case each from Botswana, Malawi, Guinea, Switzerland, Italy, Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, France, the Philippines and Palestine. The nationality of 20 other cases has yet to be ascertained.

The total number of Covid-19 cases diagnosed in Mozambique now stands at 21,361.

464 of the new cases are men or boys and 415 are women or girls. 84 are children under the age of 15, and 40 are over 65 years old. For 30 cases, no age information was available.

The great majority of the cases were from the far south – 547 from Maputo city and 53 from Maputo province. Between them, Maputo city and province accounted for 68.3 per cent of the cases reported on Saturday. There were also 83 cases in Inhambane, 45 in Zambezia, 38 in Manica, 36 in Tete, 28 in Cabo Delgado, 21 in Sofala, 15 in Nampula and 13 in Gaza. The only province that reported no cases was Niassa, and that was only because it reported no tests.

The release said that, over the same 24 hour period, 13 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital (eight in Maputo city, three in Tete, one in Zambezia and one in Sofala), but ten new cases were admitted (eight in Maputo and two in Tete).

Currently 104 people are under medical care in the Covid-19 isolation wards – 92 in Maputo, four in Zambezia, three in Nampula, three in Manica, one in Gaza and one in Matola. There is clearly a mistake in these figures, since they omit the two people hospitalised in Tete on Saturday.

The Ministry also announced that a further 42 people made a full recovery from Covid-19 on Saturday (26 in Maputo city, and 16 in Maputo province). The total number of recoveries now stands at 17,521 – which is 82 per cent of all those diagnosed with the coronavirus in Mozambique.

The number of active Covid-19 cases jumped on Saturday to 3,649 – up from 2,818 on Friday. The geographical distribution of the active cases is as follows: Maputo city, 2,209 (60.5 per cent of the total); Maputo province, 339; Sofala, 208; Cabo Delgado, 157; Nampula, 145; Inhambane, 132; Manica, 125; Zambezia, 113; Niassa, 103; Tete, 78; Gaza, 40.

In light of the sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, the Ministry of Health is recommending that all meetings, celebrations or other activities which imply bringing large numbers of people together should be postponed. People in high risk groups (such as those over the age of 65, and sufferers from other chronic illnesses) should not attend such events at all, but where possible follow them on television, radio or through social media.