Mozambique records first deaths from covid-19

Mozambique, a country of 29.5 million people is grappling with covid-19 forcing an extension of the lockdown by 30 days.

Cases of COVID-19 in Africa have exceeded 100,000, a sign that it keeps spreading despite the measures taken to contain it.

The country’s president Filipe Nyusi has announced an extension of the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. On May 26, the virus claimed the first covid-19 fatality in the country.

Thus far, the Southern Africa nation has registered 472 cases and 2 deaths as of June 11. 

4 lives lost from covid19

The first death arose from a 13-year old kid who had underlying medical pre-existing conditions and resided in Nampula. 

According to the Ministry of Health, the virus has now been recorded in the Northern province of  Niassa where no cases had been recorded yet.

The Health Ministry announced the passing of the second casualty on May 29. The victim was a Mozambican woman within the 45-50 age group and resided in Pemba.

She was also suffering from a diseased liver. An additional 2 deaths had been reported by June 19. 

Nampula region

On Thursday, Mozambique Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, instructed authorities in the Northern province of Nampula to remain on high alert over covid19.

However, he urged the measure taken should not jeopardize the local economy. He made the remarks right after he checked at Nampula airport.

Nampula region remains the worst-hit part of Mozambique where over 200 cases have been diagnosed. According to the Health Ministry, it is the only place where the cases are being transmitted within the community.

The Prime Minister urged for understanding and calm among residents while stressing the need for personal hygiene and proper use of face masks. The security situation in Cabo Delgado as thousands of displaced people have settled in Nampula.

Eduardo Samo Gudo, the deputy general director of the National Health Institute (INS), believes that the awareness campaign launched on sensitizing the public over covid19 is starting to bear fruit. Thus far, the rate of spread in Nampula seems to on an upward peak. In remarks made to AIM Samo Gudo expressed his concerns over the rapid spread.

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Mozambique has just entered the winter season of Southern Africa and authorities fear that the chilly weather might exacerbate the spread of the virus significantly. 

Public health address

Dr. Rosa Marlene, the National Director of Public Health announced the total number of those tested as of June 12 was 908,701. Thus far all the major provinces of Sofala, Maputo, Cabo Delgado, Niassa, Zambezia, Tete, Inhambane, Nampala, and Gaza, had registered cases.

During her address, Marlene attributed the rise in new numbers to the failure of residents to abide by the new restrictions. She pointed out how everyone must cooperate together to spread the potent disease. Given there is no known cure or medicine for the virus, the best prevention mechanism is a cure.

Government response

To prevent the spread of the virus Mozambique set up a ban on sporting, political, religious, and cultural events that could attract many people.

The government has mandated the public wearing masks at all times as well as social distancing when shopping. Maputo’s largest market was closed for three days this week to allow for a three-day sanitizing and reorganization. 

Xipamanine market will be the first of the 6 markets within the capital. The sanitation will extend to five fairs, and merchants who are to wear face masks all the time.

Alice de Abreu, the municipal councilor for health and social welfare attributed some of the new cases detected to the local markets. 

On June 19, the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy announced a reduction in the price of kerosene, diesel, and  LPG cooking gas.

The price of crude oil had dropped dramatically in the international market but is slowly rising after the easing of movement restrictions in Europe, Asia, and America. 

Insecurity situation

Mozambique has had to wager between fighting the virus and countering an Isis-affiliated insurgency that carried out large scale assaults at Cabo Delgado.

The terrorist raids have thus far claimed 11 people,3 of whom were beheaded. South Africa is playing a key role in assisting Mozambique with military assistance in countering the insurgency. 

During the Nampulavisit, the Prime Minister expressed described the situation at Cabo Delgado as one that affects all Mozambicans. 

Ph: Tonis Valing /