By Jorge dos Santos
The United Kingdom will ban passengers from Mozambique and 10 other African countries from entering the country, the British government announced last week, extending the measure that it applied to South Africa on 24 December to curb a new strain of covid-19 identified in that country.
The restriction went into effect on 9 January, and will stay for at least two weeks, the British Department for Transport said, also affecting people who have been in Angola, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Seychelles or Mauritius in the past 10 days.
British and Irish citizens and foreigners resident in the United Kingdom will be able to enter the country, but will have to isolate for 10 days. The new, more virulent strain of covid-19 from South Africa is already present in the UK, and is similar to the new strain first detected in the British county of Kent.
Meanwhile, more than 130 people in Mozambique were hospitalised with covid-19 in just eight days and 2,000 new cases were recorded in that time, which is a record, according to data from the health authorities. There were also 15 deaths in the period.
The increase in cases was related to the Christmas celebrations and the end of the year when people relaxed, the national director for medical assistance, Ussene Issa, said.
Added to this is the arrival of Mozambicans working in neighbouring South Africa, the country with the highest incidence of covid-19 in Africa, where a new variant of the virus has appeared. Issa warned that this meant that efforts to reduce the number of deaths and protect Mozambique’s health system could be overturned. Mozambique has already sent samples to South Africa and the United Kingdom for verification of new coronavirus variants.