Maputo — According to the latest statistics from the Mozambican health authorities, the number of active cases of the Covid-19 respiratory disease reached the record figure of 19,923 on Friday.
The previous highest figure was 19,777, recorded on 21 February, at the height of the second wave of coronavirus infection. Since then the number of active cases declined fairly steadily, until the current, third wave of the disease hit Mozambique.
The number of active cases dropped to 430 on 31 May – but then rose for most of June, and accelerated sharply in July. The rise is inevitable when the number of new cases of the disease diagnosed exceeds the number of recoveries – as it has done on almost every day since the beginning of June.
Most of the active cases – 11,007 (55.2 per cent) on Friday – were in Maputo. The distribution of the remaining cases was as follows: Tete, 2.764; Maputo province; 2.702; Gaza, 800; Manica, 775; Inhambane, 714; Niassa, 484; Sofala, 343; Zambezia, 153; Nampula, 145; and Cabo Delgado, 36.
A Friday press release from the Ministry of Health reported a further 18 deaths from Covid-19. These victims were 12 men and six women, all of them Mozambican citizens and aged between 17 and 81. Nine of them died in Maputo, five in Matola, two in Gaza, one in Tete and one in Manica.
This brought the total Covid-19 death toll in Mozambique to 1,075. There were 197 deaths in the first 16 days of July – more than four time the death toll of 44 for the entire month of June.
Since the start of the pandemic, 660,536 people have been tested for the coronavirus, 4,688 in the previous 24 hours. Most of the tests were from Maputo city (2,248), Tete (686) and Maputo province (494). Between them, these three provinces accounted for 73.1 per cent of all the samples tested on Friday.
There were also 290 tests from Nampula, 250 from Gaza, 243 from Inhambane, 225 from Sofala, 107 from Manica, 89 from Cabo Delgado, 53 from Zambezia and three from Niassa.
3,294 of the tests yielded negative results, and 1,394 people tested positive for the coronavirus. This brought the total number of Covid-19 cases diagnosed in Mozambique to 96,127.
Once again, the largest number of positive cases came from Maputo city (781), followed by Tete (188) and Maputo province (167). Between them, these three provinces accounted for 81.5 per cent of all the positive cases diagnosed on Friday. There were also 105 cases from Gaza, 61 from Manica, 40 from Sofala, 26 from Inhambane, 16 from Nampula, seven from Zambezia and four from Cabo Delgado. None of the three people tested in Niassa was positive.
The national positivity rate (the proportion of those tested found to be infected with the virus) on Friday was 29.7 per cent. The rates over the previous few days were 28.3 per cent on Thursday, 35 per cent on Wednesday, 30.8 per cent on Tuesday and 45.1 per cent on Monday.
When the positivity rate is broken down by province, a familiar pattern emerges. As has been the case throughout all of July, the rate tends to be much higher in the provinces south of the Zambezia, than in those north of the river.
For the second consecutive day, the highest positivity rate (57 per cent) was in Manica, followed by Gaza (42 per cent), Maputo city (34.7 per cent), Maputo province (33.8 per cent), and Tete (27.4 per cent).
The highest rate north of the Zambezi was 13.2 per cent recorded in Zambezia. The rate fell to 5.5 per cent in Nampula and 3.4 per cent in Cabo Delgado. No meaningful positivity rate could be calculated for Niassa, where there were only three tests, none of which were positive.
Over the same 24 hour period, 28 Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital (16 in Maputo, four in Matola, three in Gaza, three in Sofala, one in Tete and one in Manica). But more than three times that number of patients – 91 – were admitted to the Covid-19 treatment centres (53 in Maputo, 14 in Matola, 10 in Sofala, seven in Manica, three in Tete, three in Gaza, and one in Nampula).
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The number of people under medical care in the Covid-19 wards rose from 419 on Thursday to 451 on Friday – a new record for the number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised. 299 of these patients (66.3 per cent) were in Maputo, 51 in Sofala, 37 in Matola, 24 in Tete, 14 in Manica, seven each in Zambezia, Inhambane and Gaza, three in Nampula and two in Niassa. Cabo Delgado remains the only province where no Covid-19 patients are hospitalised.
This rapid increase in Covid-19 hospital admissions is putting an enormous strain on the health service. In his address to the nation on Thursday, President Filipe Nyusi warned that, at this rate, there is a real danger of hospitals running out of intensive care beds and oxygen for patients, and of personal protective equipment for health workers.