Mozambique: Uptick in Covid-19 No Reason for Alarm

Health Minister Armindo Tiago on 13 May said that the recent rise in the number of new cases of the Covid-19 respiratory disease is no cause for alarm.

Speaking in the southern municipality of Boane where he was launching an initiative to improve medical care for military veterans, Tiago said the number of daily new cases recorded “is still minimal”.

For the past few weeks, new cases have been running at fewer than ten a day, but on 12 May 19 new cases were reported, and on 13 May this rose to 15.

Tiago said the average positivity rate (the percentage of people tested found to be carrying the coronavirus that causes Covid-19) is about two per cent, and so the country is in a situation which could be regarded as stable. The alert level, he added would be a positivity rate of five per cent “and the level for action is when we reach ten per cent. When we reach these numbers, we shall take adequate measures”.

Meanwhile, Mozambique’s National Health Institute (INS) believes it would be premature to adjust the restrictive measures against the Covid-19 respiratory disease merely because of an increasing number of cases in neighbouring South Africa.

Speaking to AIM, INS Director of Surveys, Sergio Chicumbe, said that three factors determine the Mozambican measures to control the pandemic – the positivity rate, the rate of hospitalisation, and the cumulative occurrence of cases. All these indicators have been very low in recent weeks.

Restrictive measures, said Chicumbe, are to protect the National Health Service from an avalanche of hospitalisations, as seriously ill people seek medical help. Most of the restrictive measures have now been lifted, although citizens are urged to continue wearing masks in public places. “When there are a large number of people hospitalised and at risk of death, the adoption of more restrictive measures is justified”, he said. “But right now, prospects are very favourable, both in Mozambique and in the region”.

Chicumbe added that Mozambique has now accumulated experience in dealing with Covid-19. The health institutions are better prepared and can be quickly mobilised to cope with any fifth wave of the disease.

An increase in the number of cases in South Africa is likely to be reflected in Mozambique, Chicumbe admitted, “but the border surveillance has been established and strengthened, and this is a guarantee that we are following the situation”.

A further factor is the success of Mozambique’s mass vaccination campaign against Covid-19. So far, over 92 per cent of all citizens aged 18 and above have been vaccinated.

“There is a lot of uncertainty about what could happen”, Chicumbe said, “but with good vaccination coverage, and better preparation of the institutions, restrictive measures would not be imposed immediately”.

The total death toll in Mozambique from the disease remains at 2,201.

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