Mozambique prepares isolation and testing facilities in preparation for corona outbreak


UPDATE, 13 March 2020, 16:08: Denmark, Spain, and Switzerland have been added to the list of countries from which travellers will face mandatory quarantine on arrival in Mozambique.

Mozambique expanded the list of countries from which travellers will need to be quarantined for 14 days, from China to include Italy, Iran, South Korea, Germany, and France, on Wednesday, and has increased health checks along the borders, as more cases of coronavirus are reported in neighbouring South Africa.

People with private accommodation in Mozambique can self-quarantine at home, while visitors without private accommodation will be assigned a quarantine location by Mozambican health authorities, according to advice published by the German foreign ministry.

“After that period, if the person has no symptoms, then he is released for his normal activities,” Eduardo Samo Gudo, the deputy director general of the National Institute of Health, told Zitamar.

At the start of this week, there were a total of 168 people in home quarantine. Makeshift isolation centers have been installed in public hospitals to house anyone who is confirmed to have the virus.

In Maputo, anyone hospitalised with coronavirus will be cared for at the Mavalane general hospital. Private hospitals such as Hospital Privado and ICOR can test for coronavirus, but will not admit sufferers as in-patients.

The Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago, announced on Wednesday that $5 million is needed to improve the control and prevention capacity of COVID-19, including the urgent construction of isolation centres to house patients with the virus. 

The country has about 2,000 Coronavirus test kits, but needs money to help hospitalise potential patients, as well as more equipment for monitoring the disease. At the moment the government has only raised 30% of these funds, Tiago said.

All tests are analysed at the National Institute of Health’s laboratory, the only one in Mozambique equipped to do so. The laboratory can currently run 300 tests per day, though work is underway to increase capacity to 1,000 per day.

The government is starting awareness campaigns on prevention measures, in schools and hospitals, Eduardo Samo Gudo said.

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