Blantyre continues registering high cases of new COVID-19 infections

* From 853 new cases, 244 are from Blantyre

* Also has highest number of admissions at 71 from the total 195

* The country has recorded 15 new deaths; three from Blantyre

* The total figure of active cases at 7,207

* As of Dec. 1, 2019 the active cases were just over 30

* There were 47 recoveries today, 44 on yesterday, 14 on Sunday

By Duncan Mlanjira

Blantyre’s Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital continue being overwhelmed with COVID-19 related admissions as of the past 24 hours of today (Tuesday), there were 71 admissions, 63 on Monday and 65 on Sunday.

And the city also has an exponential rise in new COVID-19 case as from recorded 853, 244 are from Blantyre and from the 15 new related deaths, three are from the same city.

Yesterday (Monday), the country recorded 557 new cases with 685 on Sunday, bringing the total number to 7,207, posing a serious threat of more local transmissions.

Of the registered 853 new cases, 846 are locally transmitted infections with the others from Salima (92); Neno 85; Mangochi 46; Balaka 43; Mchinji 41.

Mzimba South has 37; Mzimba North and Kasungu 33 each; 31 from Lilongwe; 25 from Karonga; 21 from Mulanje; 20 from Nkhotakota; 16 from Mwanza; 14 Chiradzulu; 13 from Zomba; 12 from Dedza.

Eight of them are from Chikwawa; seven each from Dowa, Chitipa, and Nsanje; five from Phalombe; two each from Likoma and Ntchisi, and one each from Nkhata Bay and Machinga districts.

Five of the new deaths are from Lilongwe, three each from Blantyre and Mzimba North, and one each from Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, and Chiradzulu districts.

Next highest admissions from the 20 hospitals across the country are 58 in Lilongwe while Mzimba North has 15; seven in Mulanje, five each in Zomba and Machinga; four each in Chitipa, Kasungu and Karonga.

There are three each in Mangochi and Balaka; two each in Mzimba South, Dowa, Nkhotakota, Mchinji and Rumphi and one each in Thyolo, Salima and Chiradzulu.

In the past 24 hours, COVID-19 treatment units recorded 33 new admissions and eight in-patients were discharged.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 13,880 cases including 336 deaths with case fatality rate at 2.4%. Of these cases, 1,865 are imported infections and 12,309 are locally transmitted.

Cumulatively, 6,036 cases have now recovered, 134 were lost to follow-up, and 76 are still being investigated to ascertain their outcome. This brings the total number of active cases to 7,207.

In his situation report, presidential taskforce on COVID-19 co-chairperson, Dr. John Phuka pleads with the public not to be afraid or be anxious but should believe that everything will be back to normal.

He says these are trying times “but all is not lost. We should not despair or lose hope as we can stop the spread of the disease if all of us act decisively and choose to adhere to the preventive measures.

“I have observed that there is fear, worry, stress and anxiety among the public with how the disease is spreading [but] if we work together in unity and solidarity, we should be able to defeat this pandemic by [observing the preventive measures].”

He said people should look at the positive side because “we have a lot of people recovering from the disease”.

“Our data shows that over 6,000 people have recovered and our case fatality rate is at 2.4% which means that out of 100 people with COVID-19, between 97 or 98 people will survive the disease.

“It is also very important that we look after our mental health, as well as our physical health wellbeing. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make all of us stronger in all ways and it will be easier to defeat the pandemic.”

He said health authorities are concerned that patients are arriving at treatment units while in severe state and this is resulting in poor disease outcomes.

He assured the public that treatment/isolation units has experienced and dedicated health workers that are working tirelessly to save lives and though there is increased admissions, a lot more people are being discharged on daily basis.

“The chances of one recovering from COVID-19 increases when the disease is identified as early as possible hence the need for prompt health seeking behaviour.”

He encouraged the public to promptly inform the health authorities by calling toll-free number 54747 (Airtel) or 929 (TNM) whenever one is experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms such as fever, cough, flu, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell and tiredness.