Maputo — Of all the countries in southern Africa with reliable statistics, Mozambique remains the one with the lowest death rate from the Covid-19 respiratory disease.

So far 21 people are known to have died from Covid-19 in Mozambique. This is 0.6 deaths per million inhabitants, according to Ilesh Jani, general director of the National Health Institute (INS).

Presenting the weekly analysis of the epidemiological situation at a Maputo press conference, Jani said the highest death rates among mainland southern African countries were in South Africa, Namibia and Zambia, with 219, 18.1 and 15.2 deaths per million inhabitants.

Tanzania’s announced death rate was only 0.4 deaths per million inhabitants, but this is unreliable since the government has not released any figures since early May.

Jani said Mozambique has reported 108.6 cases per million inhabitants. Among southern African countries, only Angola has a lower rate, at 64.9 cases per million. The highest rates are in South Africa and Namibia, with 10,235.3 and 2,179.5 cases per million inhabitants.

The national positivity rate (the number of people who test positive for the disease as a percentage of all those tested) has risen gradually and now stands at 3.9 per cent, an increase from the previous week’s 3.7 per cent. But the positivity rate in Maputo city is much higher, and by Sunday had reached 8.5 per cent.

Maputo is one of the three cities where Covid-19 has made the transition from an epidemic with foci of transmission to an epidemic with community transmission. The other two cities are Nampula and Pemba, and in both cases the positivity rate has fallen – to 4.9 per cent in Nampula, and 2.9 per cent in Pemba.

Overall, the number of Covid-19 cases diagnosed has continued to rise steeply, from 635 positive cases in June, to 975 in July, to 1,576 in the period 1-24 August.

The great majority of people diagnosed with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 have no symptoms. According to Jani, 56 per cent of all positive cases are asymptomatic, 36 per cent have mild symptoms, seven per cent have moderate symptoms, and only one per cent have serious symptoms.

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