Mozambique: Displaced people begin returning to Mocímboa da Praia - Carta
in file CoM
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday night announced the end of the curfew imposed in most of the country’s urban areas, as a measure to check the movement of people, and hence the spread of the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Addressing the nation, Nyusi said that the improvement in all the main Covid-19 indicators in recent weeks has allowed the government to relax its restrictive measures. But he warned that the restrictions may be re-imposed, depending on how the pandemic evolves.
When the curfew was initially imposed, it ran from 21.00 to 04.00 in all cities and major towns. It was gradually relaxed, and in January, it was cut to just four hours, from midnight to 04.00. Now it has been eliminated altogether.
Nyusi also announced the re-opening of all the country’s land and air borders, thus making travel much easier.
Opening times for restaurants and bars are relaxed. These establishments may now remain open until 23.00 every day. The country’s beaches will be open from 05.00 to 18.00 (rather than 16.00), but the ban on drinking alcohol on the beaches remains in force, as does the ban on large gatherings.
The limits on attendance at events are also relaxed. Thus musical shows and the like may now have a maximum of 500 spectators in closed places, and 1,000 in the open air (but in no case may attendance exceed 50 per cent of capacity).
The limits are the same for religious services, public and private meetings, private social events and State events – 500 people in closed spaces and 1,000 in the open.
The maximum number of people who may attend a funeral is raised to 200 – unless the deceased died of Covid-19, in which case the limit is 20 (instead of ten).
Large gymnasiums may now open at full capacity, while small and medium sized gyms are limited to 75 per cent of their capacity, as are swimming pools.
These measures will be in force for 60 days (until 18 April), Nyusi said.
He attributed the recent improvement in the Covid-19 situation in Mozambique, to the mass vaccination campaign. To date over ten million people have been fully vaccinated against the disease, which is over 68 per cent of all Mozambicans aged 18 and above.
That still leaves over four million people of the target age group who have not yet been vaccinated, and Nyusi urged them to make their way to the nearest vaccination centre as soon as possible.
He stressed that vaccination is entirely free of charge, and that the vaccine protects against death from Covid-19 and the most serious forms of the disease. The statistics indicate that those who are vaccinated are much less likely to be hospitalised.
Nyusi warned that the latest round of relaxations does not mean that the pandemic is over. Basic precautions must still be taken, he insisted, including regular washing of hands, the wearing of masks in public places and social distancing.
In its latest daily press release, the Ministry of Health said that 24 new cases were reported on Wednesday (which compares with 48 cases the previous day).
The positivity rate (the percentage of people tested found to be infected with the virus) declined from 2.66 per cent on Tuesday to 1.41 per cent on Wednesday.
Since the start of the pandemic, 1,253,662 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Mozambique, 1,708 of them in the previous 24 hours.
1,694 of these tests yielded negative results. The 24 positive cases brought the total number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in Mozambique to 224,791. 15 of Wednesday’s new cases were women and nine were men.
13 of these cases (54.2 per cent) were in Maputo city. There were also four cases in Gaza, two in Nampula, two in Tete, and one each in Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Inhambane. No positive cases were reported from the other four provinces.
Over the same 24 hour period, two Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital, both in Maputo, and three new patients were admitted, also all in Maputo.
The number of people under medical care in the Covid-19 wards rose slightly, from 17 on Tuesday, to 18 on Wednesday. 11 of these patients (61.1 per cent) were in Maputo, two each in Nampula, Manica, and Gaza, and one in Zambezia. No Covid-19 patients were hospitalised in any of the other six provinces.
The Ministry release also reported that, over the previous 24 hours, a further 136 people had made a full recovery from Covid-19 (69 in Cabo Delgado, 39 in Manica, 19 in Maputo city and nine in Gaza). This brings the total number of recoveries to 218,164, which is 97.1 per cent of all those ever diagnosed with Covid-19 in Mozambique.
The number of active cases of Covid-19 fell from 4,016 on Tuesday, to 3,904 on Wednesday. The geographical distribution of the active cases was as follows: Maputo city, 3,318 (85 per cent of the total); Niassa, 146; Maputo province, 145; Cabo Delgado, 97; Tete, 66; Nampula, 38; Gaza, 34; Zambezia, 26; Manica, 21; Sofala, nine; and Inhambane, four.