Mozambique’s health minister says test shows he has COVID-19

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MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) — Mozambique’s health minister says he has tested positive for COVID-19, in a routine test conducted ahead of a planned trip abroad.

Minister Armindo Tiago said Tuesday that he has no symptoms and decided to announce his status publicly to “transform this situation into a moment of learning for me and others.”

Tiago is isolating at his home in the capital, Maputo, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health.

“Many of us will have this virus at some point in our lives,” he said. “No one in this world can say they’re immune to the novel coronavirus.”

Tiago was appointed health minister in January and has led Mozambique’s response to the pandemic. The disease has spread relatively slowly in Mozambique, a country of 30 million, despite never having a ‘lockdown’ like in neighboring countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe. Schools have been closed since April but are now gradually reopening.

The total number of cases officially diagnosed went above 10,000 on Sunday. Seventy-three people have died from the disease, according to official statistics.

The number of Mozambique’s active cases is currently falling, from a peak of 3,431 on Sept. 30 to 2,301 on Tuesday.

Most active cases are now in Maputo, where 1,346 have been confirmed with the disease. Nationwide, 34 people are in hospital with COVID-19, of which 33 are in Maputo, and one in Tete province.

Arild Drivdal, a public health expert in Maputo, said Tiago “has been an effective communicator” during the pandemic and the health ministry, and Mozambique in general, “have done many things right,” he said.

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