Mozambique: Community Transmission of COVID-19 Declared in Pemba

– Mozambican Health Minister Armindo Tiago on Sunday declared that the city of Pemba, capital of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, has become the second city in Mozambique where the Covid-19 respiratory disease has made the transition from an epidemic with foci of transmission, to an epidemic with community transmission.

The first place where community transmission of the disease was noted was Nampula city, which, after have no cases at all in the first few weeks of the pandemic, rapidly became the area with largest number of cases in the country. The Health Ministry declared Nampula city a site of community transmission on 6 June.

Speaking in Maputo at the Ministry of Health’s daily press conference on the Covid-19 situation, Tiago said that Pemba now meets the criteria set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for community transmission.

These criteria include a rapid increase in the number of cases where the chain of transmission is unknown, and a change in the demographic and clinical profile of Covid-19 cases. In Mozambique, this means the appearance of the disease in a significant number of children. At the start of the pandemic, most Mozambicans who tested positive for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 were asymptomatic – but in Nampula city and now in Pemba most cases show mild to moderate symptoms.

Not only are the chains of transmission unknown, but the various foci of the disease do not seem related to each other.

Tiago also pointed to the high level of positivity in Pemba. Positivity is measured by dividing the total number of individuals tested by the number of positive results. This gives an outcome that is twice the national average of three per cent.

Tiago said that, just as in Nampula city, the Health Ministry is taking measures to mitigate the situation. These include stepping up “active surveillance” in health units throughout Cabo Delgado to monitor the epidemic and identify early on any other places affected. The surveillance Tiago mentioned refers mostly to testing for the coronavirus anyone appearing at a health unit with respiratory problems.

The health authorities will also undertake an epidemiological survey in Pemba, along the lines of the one currently under way in Nampula city. These surveys are based on quick blood tests which detect Covid-19 antibodies, and can give some idea of the scale of the epidemic.

The Ministry will also set up laboratory capacity in Pemba to carry out PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests, which detect whether the coronavirus itself is present in an individual.

Tiago insisted on the need for rigorous implementation of the measures outlined by the government under the present state of emergency, including social distancing of at least 1.5 metres between individuals, and avoiding all unnecessary travel.

The Minister also announced that a fifth person has died of Covid-19. He was a 38 year old Mozambican man, suffering from various other illnesses, who was admitted to Maputo Central Hospital last Tuesday with serious respiratory distress.

He was tested for Covid-19, but Tiago said the test results only became available on Sunday. By that time the man was dead. He passed away on Thursday, after he had been transferred to the isolation ward in the Polana-Canico neighbourhood.

“During his hospitalisation, he was assessed, and it was concluded that he was an individual suffering from several co-morbidities”, added the Minister. Apparently, he had interrupted his treatment for some of them.

Tiago said that the number of people tested since the start of the pandemic has now reached 23,760, of whom 656 were tested in the previous 24 hours. 166 of the samples came from Cabo Delgado, 138 from Maputo province, 105 from Maputo City, 75 from Inhambane, 61 from Nampula, 28 from Gaza, 19 from Tete, four from Sofala, three from Niassa, and two from Manica.

611 of these tests were negative, but 45 people tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of positive cases diagnosed in Mozambique to 733. 41 of the new cases are Mozambicans and four are Malawian citizens. 24 are men and 21 are women. Three of them are children under 15 years of age.

22 of the new cases are in Cabo Delgado – 18 in Pemba, three in Palma district and one in Ancuabe. Six cases were diagnosed in Nampula city, seven in Maputo city, and eight in Maputo province (five in Namaacha, on the border with Swaziland, one in Marracuene and one in Moamba. There was no information on the eighth individual). One case was diagnosed in Morrumbala district, Zambezia, province, and one in Xai-Xai, capital of Gaza).

Tiago said all the new cases, in line with standard Health Ministry procedure, have gone into home isolation, and staff are now tracing their contacts.

The number of people hospitalised due to Covid-19 has now risen to nine – four in Nampula, three in Maputo city, and one each in Manica and Sofala. Tiago said that one of these patients is in a serious condition, while the others only have mild symptoms.

He also announced that four more people have made a complete recovery from Covid-19, three in Cabo Delgado and one in Gaza. This brings the number of recoveries in Mozambique to 181.

As of Sunday, the breakdown by province of the 733 positive cases was as follows: Cabo Delgado, 227; Nampula, 226; Maputo City, 121; Maputo Province, 83; Tete, 23; Sofala, 16; Inhambane, 13; Niassa, nine; Zambezia, seven; Gaza, five; Manica, three.

The key Covid-19 statistics for Mozambique are now: 733 confirmed cases, of which 181 have made a full recovery and 546 are active cases. Six Covid-19 patients have died – five of the disease, and one from another, unrelated cause.



Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique.