By Duncan Mlanjira
As of Tuesday, August 11, six Coronavirus-related deaths were registered, bringing the cumulative figure at 152 as the total figure of recorded cases in Malawi is now at 4,714 since the first cases in April.
Since August 1 alone, there had been 42 deaths — six on August 1 (from 108 new cases recorded); three on the 2nd (from 45 new cases); none on the 3rd (from 42); five on the 4th (from 88); eight on 5th (from 65); a further eight on the 6th (from 65); none on the 7th (from 84).
On Saturday the 8th, there were six from 49 new cases; Sunday the 9th, there were three new from 34 new while Monday there were no new deaths from 146 cases.
In his situation report on Tuesday, co-chairperson of Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka says 40 new cases were registered and from the six new deaths, four are from Blantyre and one each from Chitipa and Nkhotakota.
Tuesday also recorded 47 new recoveries and of the new cases, 35 are locally transmitted and five are imported cases.
Four of the imported cases were identified among returning residents — three from a flight (two are based in Blantyre and one in Lilongwe) and one based in Mzimba), who was identified from a returnee arrived from South Africa through Mwanza border.
Of the locally transmitted infections, 20 are from Lilongwe, 12 from Blantyre, two from Karonga and one from Nkhata Bay.
Of these cases, 1,036 are imported infections and 3,678 are locally transmitted. Cumulatively, 2,477 cases have now recovered bringing the total number of active cases to 2,085.
The average age of the cases is 36.7 years, the youngest case being aged 1 month, the oldest being 98 years old and 66.8% are male.
The country has so far conducted 35,337 COVID-19 tests in 45 COVID-19 testing sites of which 460 tests have been done in the past 24 hours before Tuesday evening.
In order to stop the spread of the pandemic, Dr. Phuka continues to plead with Malawians to collectively practice preventive and containment measures.
“Our daily decisions should be aimed at stopping the virus from spreading and causing more damage to our lives,” he said.
“The COVID-19 data in our country shows that a lot of cases (>85%) have mild or no symptoms at all and where practical are advised to self-isolate at home.”
He also targets people that have been confirmed COVID-19 positive and are on self-isolation at home to:
• Separate themselves from other people in the home, in a well-ventilated bedroom and that other family members should not stay or sleep in the same room as them.
• To use a separate bathroom and if they must share a bathroom, it should be cleaned with household disinfectant or soap after every use.
• To avoid sharing items and the same spaces with other people and clean surfaces often.
• Not to share utensils (plates, spoons, cups) with other family members during isolation.
• To stay at least 1 metre away from other people in the home.
• Wear facemasks properly to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
• Cough or sneeze into the fold of the elbow. Alternatively, cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of tissue in a dedicated bin.
• Clean hands often with soap and water for at least 40 seconds or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Dr. Phuka stresses that if people do not isolate themselves correctly, they may infect others within the household.
“If you share your home with a person who is self-isolating, there are several practical considerations and actions which can be undertaken to reduce the risk of infection spreading between members of the same household and everyone in your household should:
• Wash their hands regularly with soap or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Only touch your face, nose and eyes when your hands have been washed
• Clean commonly touched surfaces such as door handles frequently with soap or disinfectants
• Exclude the person in self-isolation from the common areas of the home.
“When these isolation conditions are not possible within your household, contact the healthcare workers in your area for Government supported institutional isolation.
“Watch your distance! Wash your hands! Wear your mask! Stay safe!”