By Duncan Mlanjira
Co-chairperson of Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka said it is encouraging that a lot more people are recovering from the disease but strongly reminded those that have recovered to continue following all preventive measures to avoid getting re-infected.
As of Wednesday, July 28, Malawi registered 120 new four COVID-19 cases with four related deaths and 32 recoveries, bringing the total number of active cases to 1,991 and deaths at 107.
Cumulatively, the country has recorded 3,858 with 2,875 being local transmissions, 983 imported cases while the total number of recovered cases is now at 1,760.
Dr. Phuka says in his update that currently, there is no known scientific evidence to show immunity in recovered patients and thus there is need for those that have recovered to take extra care in adhering to the preventive measures.
The situation report says the four new deaths are from Lilongwe that occurred on Monday, July 27.
As of Tuesday last week, there were 104 new cases with seven deaths; on Thursday there were 84 new with three deaths; Saturday there were 103 new with seven deaths; Sunday recorded 107 new with five deaths and on four people succumbed to the pandemic after recording 45 new cases.
Of the 120 new cases on Wednesday, 100 are locally transmitted infected and 20 imported. One of the imported was identified in Karonga while 19 were identified at Mwanza border during routine screening.
One of the new cases is a health care worker from Mzimba South. The frontline health care workers in the fight against the pandemic continue to be vulnerable as from Saturday’s update there were four of them; Sunday had five; Monday had five while Tuesday’s update had 29 new.
The locally transmitted infections has 43 from Blantyre, 31 from Lilongwe, six from Mzimba North, five from Karonga, two each from Kasungu, Nkhotakota, Ntcheu, Salima and Thyolo.
The rest of the locally transmitted infections are one each from Chitipa, Dowa and Nkhata Bay.
The average age of the cases is still at 36 years, the youngest still being aged 1 month, the oldest still is 93 years old while men top the list at 66.6%.
The country has so far conducted 28,688 COVID-19 tests in 39 testing sites.
Dr. Phuka reiterated on the preventive measures that include:
*Frequent handwashing with soap of disinfection with alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
*Respiratory hygiene such as covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing;
*Avoiding over crowded places;
*Physical distancing of at least 1 meter;
*Proper wearing of masks and avoidance of sharing of used masks;
*Regular environmental cleaning and disinfection;
*Limiting unnecessary travel;
*Strictly adhering to self-isolation and self-quarantine protocols for those confirmed positive and exposed respectively.
Earlier, he strongly advised the public to desist from using unproven drugs as self medication for COVID-19 whether as a treatment or as prophylaxis as this could lead to serious side effects leading to drug resistance in the long run.
He urged the public to stay at home and contact medical personnel on 54747 if experiencing COVID-19 signs and symptoms such as flu, cough and/or fever.
On Monday, when the four deaths were registered, Dr. Phuka said this called for “self-reflection as a country as we are losing a lot of lives due to the pandemic and a lot more are being infected”.
“Our lives have been disrupted greatly due to this disease. This is the time for us to seriously consider to re-strategize our day to day lives and only make decisions that help to reduce the spread of the virus in our midst.
“We all need to treat everyone that you meet as a potential carrier of the virus and we need to strictly follow all preventive measures wholesomely.”
He reminded the public for severe COVID-19 case to:
*Get screened for chronic conditions — this means getting checked if one has diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, TB and HIV;
*Ensure the chronic condition one lives with is under control — ensuring they are regularly taking medication for diabetes, hypertension, TB and HIV.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health & Population, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda announced on her Ministry’s Facebook page that the Chinese Government has pledged to bring into the country team of Chinese doctors next month to strength and help in the fight against the pandemic.
This follows a donation of anti-COVID-19 medical supplies that China’s Ambassador to Malawi His Excellency Liu HongYang presented to Malawi’s First Lady, Madame Monica Chakwera that came from the First Lady of the People’s Republic of China.
The supplies which included 120,000 thermoscaners and 18,000 face masks.
The Minister later had an audience with the group members of UN family that included WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, UNICEF headed by UN Resident Coordinator, Marie Jose Torres.
“On COVID-19, the UN family illustrated how they are helping my ministry in the prevention of the COVID-19 and also in medical supplies like PPEs for our front line health care workers.
“We all emphasized on how we can work together to avoid further local transmission of COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
On the continental level, Africa has seen an increase of nearly 14,000 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours as of July 29, confirmed total from 55 African countries has reached 874,035.
Reported deaths have reached 18,497 and recoveries 524,556.
South Africa has the most reported cases — 459,761, with deaths numbering 7,257. Other most-affected countries include Egypt (92,947), Nigeria (41,804), Algeria (28,615), and Ghana (34,406).
The numbers are compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University using statistics from the World Health Organization and other international institutions as well national and regional public health departments.