Mozambique: COVID-19 Transmission Chains On the Increase


Maputo — There has been a serious increase in transmission chains of the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease, Ilesh Jani, the general director of Mozambique’s National Health Institute (INS), warned on Sunday.


Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s daily press conference on the Covid-19 crisis, Jani said there is now a danger of the country slipping into “community transmission” of the disease.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has changed its classification of the coronavirus situation in Mozambique from one of “an epidemic with sporadic cases” to “an epidemic with foci of transmission”, due to the emergence of new chains of transmission in various parts of the country.




A week ago, only two chains of transmission were identified, said Jani, one at the camp operated by the French oil and gas company Total on the Afungi Peninsula, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, and one in Maputo City.


But now Jani put the number of transmission chains at 35. Cases were identified earlier in the week in Maputo, Sofala and Inhambane provinces, and new cases in Cabo Delgado that did not seem connected with the Total camp.


The latest information, given at the press conference by the National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, is that cases have now been diagnosed in the central provinces of Manica and Tete.


Marlene said that, since the start of the crisis, 6,011 suspected cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed, 276 of them in the previous 24 hours. 268 of these were negative, but eight tested positive, pushing the total of known Covid-19 cases in the country up from 129 to 137.




Five of the new cases are asymptomatic, and three display mild symptoms. All are now undergoing home isolation, and the health authorities are tracing their contacts.


Seven of the new cases are Mozambicans, while one is a Zambian citizen. For the first time, one case was diagnosed in Tete and one in Manica. The Manica case, in Machaze district, is a 35 year old man who recently returned from South Africa. He was tested in Manica on 11 May: the delay in receiving the result is because the sample had to go the INS laboratory in Maputo for analysis.


In Tete city, a 25 year old woman tested positive. Marlene believed that she was Zambian, but would only be able to confirm this on Monday.


Three of the new cases are Total workers at Afungi, discovered because all the 415 workers remaining at the Afungi camp are being retested. All three have very low viral loads, and so it is believed they were infected a considerable time ago. They are men aged 26, 31 and 57.


Two of those from Maputo city were positive – a 32 year old man and a 22 year old woman. The woman had been repatriated from South Africa.


The eighth case is a 34 year old man in the city of Matola, who had also recently returned from South Africa.


The geographical breakdown of the 137 positive cases is as follows: Cabo Delgado, 84; Maputo City, 30; Maputo province, 11; Sofala, eight; Inhambane, two; Tete, one; and Manica, one.


Marlene also announced that another Covid-19 patient has made a full recovery, bringing the number of recoveries to 44. This patient was an asymptomatic, 29 year old Mozambican man in Afungi. He needed no hospitalisation, and remained under home isolation until the infection had passed.


Thus, as of Sunday, Mozambique’s main Covid-19 statistics were: 137 confirmed cases, of whom 44 have made a full recovery and 93 are active cases. There have been no Covid-19 deaths.


Jani said a window of opportunity still exists to prevent the epidemic developing into the phase of community transmission, “but this window will not be open permanently”. But that will depend on all Mozambicans obeying the restrictions laid down by the government in the state of emergency regulations. These include social distancing, the closure of all bars and other places that might attract crowds, avoidance of all non-essential travel, and the obligatory wearing of face masks in public places.


Jani also stressed the importance of meticulously tracing the contacts of each and every positive case, so that the chains of transmission are interrupted.



Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique