Mozambique Closes Beaches Again Due to Low Covid Vaccination Rate

As richer countries with higher coronavirus vaccination rates increasingly reopen their borders and economies, countries with more restr...

As richer countries with higher coronavirus vaccination rates increasingly reopen their borders and economies, countries with more restricted access to vaccines need to take more difficult action.

In Mozambique, this resulted in the closure of popular beaches this week over fears of the virus spreading, less than two weeks after their cautious reopening. Authorities fear that beaches along the Indian Ocean – which are at the center of the country’s tourism industry and community life – could become infection hotspots or encourage a lax attitude towards Covid-19 regulations .

According to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 5% of Mozambique’s adult population is fully vaccinated against the virus. And authorities have warned that life cannot return to normal yet, even as temperatures rise and summer is approaching.

The Mozambican government announced the closure on Wednesday, immediately closing 18 beaches around the capital, Maputo, and at resorts like Xai Xai and Tofo, for at least two weeks.

This is in stark contrast to neighboring South Africa, which has the highest number of Covid-19 infections on the continent, but has relaxed restrictions and kept its beaches open as vaccination rates steadily rise. Other popular tourist destinations in the Indian Ocean, such as Mauritius and the Seychelles, have welcomed returning tourists after successful vaccination campaigns.

Mozambique has only recorded an average of 30 coronavirus cases per day over the past seven days and no new deaths from Covid, according to the World Health Organization. Yet the country, which has recorded 150,899 cases since the start of the pandemic, has implemented strict measures to keep infections low.

Authorities reopened the beaches on September 23 as the country emerged from a third wave of infections, although the reopening came with a warning that easing restrictions did not mean the end of the pandemic. Authorities continued to impose strict regulations on beaches in particular, banning alcohol consumption, gatherings and games, and imposing a closing time of 5 p.m.

Beachgoers have been warned that breaking the rules will lead to swift action. And it happened this week as government spokesperson Filimão Suazi, announced the closure of some of Mozambique’s most popular beaches, blaming “bad behavior”.

Mozambique entered its third wave of infections earlier this year, with more than 4,400 new cases reported in the first week of July. With only three doctors per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the United States Embassy in Mozambique, the country’s health facilities were under strain. Authorities rushed to close schools, limit shopping hours in markets and impose a nighttime curfew.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Mozambique Closes Beaches Again Due to Low Covid Vaccination Rate
Mozambique Closes Beaches Again Due to Low Covid Vaccination Rate
Newsrust - US Top News
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