Latest update on Coronavirus.

I’m pleased to say that the official news on coronavirus in Mozambique looks good, relatively few infections and no deaths. However, it is a concern that health authorities don’t know exactly how many of the victims contracted the virus and MISAU admits that community transmissions may be already occuring. More

Business as usual, almost!

According to today’s coronavirus report (15 May)

The total number of people infected with the new coronavirus in Mozambique has risen to 119, of which 42 have fully recovered, there have been no deaths.

Today there are twelve more coronavirus cases in the country. Among the newly diagnosed patients are two small children. One is the son of the man infected with Covid19 in the city of Inhambane. The source of the original infection has not been identified. This is also true for a worker in the Port of Maputo, and four patients in Sofala Province who also contracted the Covid-19 virus in circumstances that have not yet been clarified.

3 of these new cases were people repatriated from the Republic of South Africa. And at least one of these people left Maputo Province without knowing their health condition and travelled to Gaza Province on a bus with other citizens.

One of the new cases was diagnosed at the Total camp in Afungi, and four in Palma district, Cabo Delgado.

There’s another public laboratory for testing suspected Covid-19 at the Biotechnology Centre of the Eduardo Mondlane University.

Between Wednesday (13) and Thursday (14), 373 tests were perfumed in the country. So far, Mozambique has performed 5,119 tests for Covid-19.

On the face of it we continue to be lucky.

To date there are no reported cases in Nampula Province where Ilha De Mozambique is situated. But, there are fears that people moving down from Cabo Delgado Province to escape the civil unrest may carry the virus as there have been a number of reported cases there. Also there is an expectation that students will return to school and university at the end of the month, increasing population movement.

So how is life on ilha during the coronavirus emergency?

On the surface it is the same exotic island, but the dynamism is missing and I know lots of people are doing it tough.

The economy on Mozambique Island is reliant on tourism which, as we all know, has come to a screeching halt everywhere in the world. On Ilha this means all the tour operators and self-employed guides are without any income, and thats a bit depressing. Also, the restaurants, hotels and bars have now been closed for more than a month and even businesses not connected to tourism have been forced to lay off staff.

There’s a knock-on effect, so even those in the informal economy are feeling the pinch. This includes transport operators, street vendors, fishermen and growers of market produce.

Despite government ‘concern’ there is no government bailout or other assistance for small business, and there is no government safety net for people who have lost their income. Community resilience is strong, it’s not the first time islanders have had to support each other, so people have that to fall back on. Lets hope its enough.

Some restaurants are finding new ways to get by, even if its just to cover overheads. Two of the most popular barraca restaurants, Mariamo’s and Sara’s are now offering a take-away service.  They are also encouraging people to bring their own containers, a great idea, it saves money and is better than using those throwaway styrofoam things.

Take-away Pizza from Ancora D’Ouro

Good news from Ancora D’Ouro which has fired up the pizza oven and re-employed their long-time chef Domingos to work his kitchen magic. Ancora are offering delicious collect or home delivered pizza on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Rickshaws restaurant continues to distribute free meals and protective masks. This charitable initiative is financed through private donations, “to help the community the  keep the business afloat. Rickshaws is an evangelising Christian organisation and as such believe that recipients of these fast-food style meals are “protected and blessed”. I’m not sure that the mainly muslim population sees it this way, and there have been eyebrows raised about distributing day-time meals during Ramadan, but people accept them non-the-less. According to their website Rickshaws have now distributed more than 2500 meal and mask kits.

Social distancing rules apply

Painting spacing squares for customers queuing up outside the bank to use

Just like elsewhere it was very awkward at first, but people are now used to not shaking hands or kissing as they normally do at every encounter – a lovely Mozambican thing. Abraço no more! Will it ever come back?

Face masks have now become essential fashion accessories, just about everybody has one made from colourful Capulana. Only the kids get away without wearing some type of face covering in public.

 

 

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