Maputo — Mozambique’s National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, announced on Thursday that a ninth person has died of the Covid-19 respiratory disease.

Speaking at a Ministry of Health press conference in Maputo, Marlene said the latest victim was a 54 year old man who had been admitted to Quelimane General Hospital in the central province of Zambezia on 2 July, suffering from an unspecified chronic illness.

He was critically ill and was immediately transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit, where, on the same day, he was tested for the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. Because there are no testing facilities in Quelimane, the result of the test, showing that he did indeed have Covid-19, was not available until 7 July. But by that time, the patient was dead: he passed away on 3 July, the day after he had been admitted to hospital.

Marlene said that, since the start of the pandemic, 36,698 people have been tested in Mozambique for the coronavirus, 1,002 of them in the previous 24 hours. 795 of these tests were undertaken in public health facilities and 207 in private laboratories.

Of the 795 samples tested in the private sector, 233 were from Maputo City, 198 from Maputo province, 138 from Gaza, 54 from Cabo Delgado, 25 from Niassa, 13 from Nampula, one from Zambezia and one from Tete. A similar breakdown was not immediately available for the 207 tests in the private sector.

1,081 of the tests gave negative results, and 21 people tested positive for Covid-19. This brings the total number of positive cases to 1,092, since the first case was diagnosed on 22 March.