Mozambique: ‘Window of Opportunity’ in Fight Against COVID-19 Narrowing

Maputo — The “window of opportunity” to avoid accelerated transmission of the Covid-19 respiratory disease “has narrowed significantly in recent days”, warned Mozambique’s National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, on Sunday.

Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s daily press conference on the Covid-19 situation, she said the rapid spread of the disease in Nampula city, the second largest city in the country (after the Maputo-Matola conurbation), met the conditions set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for “community transmission” of the disease.

There was a high level of “positivity” (defined as the number of people tested divided by the number of positive results), person-to-person transmission was higher than the national average, and about 75 per cent of those diagnosed in the city have symptoms of Covid-19.

This contrasts with the situation up until mid-May, when the great majority of those who tested positive were asymptomatic. Most Nampula cases, however, are showing mild to moderate symptoms – and in two cases the symptoms were serious enough to warrant hospitalisation.

The Nampula city cases also had a different demographic profile from positive cases elsewhere. The number of children under nine years of age, and of people aged 60 and above who tested positive for Covid-19 was twice as high as elsewhere in the country.

Marlene repeated the warning given the previous day by Health Minister Armindo Tiago – while the disease in the rest of Mozambique “shows an epidemiological pattern based on foci of transmission”, in Nampula city it has shifted into the phase of community transmission, and requires a strong response.

Marlene said the health authorities “are fine tuning the mechanisms for multi-sector coordination, to support the response”, and are “boosting the awareness of communities so that they play a more active role in the response”.

The Health Ministry, she continued, “is involving key partners in developing provincial and district action and response plans”, and was upgrading Nampula hospitals so that they can cope with any influx of Covid-19 patients.

Active surveillance, Marlene said, is being expanded across Nampula city and province to speed up identification of new parts of the province affected. Community based rapid epidemiological tests will be used in the city to determine the scale of the epidemic.

Marlene also expressed serious concern at the infection of health workers by Covid-19. 39 health workers have now been infected , which is over eight per cent of all cases in the country.

The Ministry, she said, is strengthening protection for health professionals by increasing the availability of Personal Protective Equipoment, and training staff to use it correctly.

Marlene announced that, since the start of the pandemic, 14,010 people have been tested for Covid-19, 612 of them in the previous 24 hours. 291 of these samples came from Maputo City, 115 from Nampula, 67 from Manica, 52 from Inhambane, 28 from Tete, 23 from Sofala, 21 from Maputo province, 14 from Cabo Delgado and one from Gaza.

597 of these samples were negative, but 15 tested positive for Covid-19. All are Mozambican citizens. 11 (seven women and four men) are from Nampula, while the other four (two women and two men) are from Maputo city. Four of the Nampula cases are health workers.

Following standard Ministry of Health procedure, the 15 new cases have all gone into home isolation, while health staff trace their contacts.

Marlene said that one more Covid-19 patient, from Inhambane province, has made a complete recovery. This brings to 127 the number of recoveries.

As of Sunday, the geographical distribution of positive cases by province was as follows: Cabo Delgado, 163; Nampula, 126; Maputo City, 67; Maputo province, 34; Sofala, 12; Tete, five; Niassa, five; Inhambane, four; Gaza, three; Manica, three; Zambezia, two.

Mozambique’s basic statistics for Covid-19 are thus 424 positive cases, of whom 127 have made a full recovery. There are 294 active cases, and three Covid-19 patients have died, two from the disease itself and the third from an unrelated cause.

 

 

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique