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23 Mar 2020 | 09:33 PM UTC

Mozambique: First case of COVID-19 confirmed March 22 /update 1

Mozambique government confirms first case of COVID-19 on March 22 and suspends visa issuances to foreigners, including visas which have been previously issued on March 23; confirm travel itineraries

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MOZ

Event

Mozambique's Minister of Health Armindo Tiago confirmed the country's first case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Sunday, March 22. The individual is a 75 year-old who returned from the UK on Friday, March 20. The case was confirmed by the National Public Health Laboratory Institute in Maputo on March 22, and the patient is currently in isolation at home. According to authorities, contact tracing and further risk assessment is currently in progress.

Authorities will be implementing restrictive measures from Monday, March 23, to contain the spread of the virus. Visa issuance to foreigners, including visas which have been previously issued, will be suspended. Additionally, all schools will be closed, and public gatherings of more than 50 people banned as a precautionary measure. Mozambicans arriving from other countries will also need to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Further international spread of the virus is expected in the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.