* At the height of the second wave of the pandemic in mid-January, positivity rate was at over 30.4%
* On Saturday, the positivity rate was at 11.7%; Friday at 15.8%; Thursday at 14.9%
* Last Wednesday was at 16.2%; Tuesday at 17.7% and Monday at 15.7%
By Duncan Mlanjira
From 2,475 COVID-19 tests that were conducted in the past 24 hours, Malawi has registered 200 new cases, 344 new recoveries, eight new related deaths.
The positive cases out of the total translates to a positivity rate of 8.1% down from 15.5% registered on Sunday while case fatality rate is at 3.3%.
In his national address on Sunday evening, President Chakwera said the “goal is to get the positivity rate down to 5% or lower, because that is when we can safely ease restrictions and allow the economy to breathe”.
“To get there, we still need to cut the positivity rate down by 10% or more, and that means we each must keep complying with the restrictions that are currently in place.”
At the height of the second wave of the pandemic in mid-January, positivity rate was at over 30.4%. On Saturday, the positivity rate was at 11.7%; Friday at 15.8%; Thursday at 14.9%; Wednesday at 16.2%; Tuesday at 17.7% and Monday at 15.7%.
Of the new cases, 190 are locally transmitted with Salima recording the highest at 59 followed by 37 from Blantyre, 36 from Lilongwe, 20 from Zomba and 12 from Mzimba North
Of the eight new COVID-19 related deaths, two each are from Lilongwe, Rumphi, and Mzimba South, and one each from Blantyre and Chitipa Districts.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 30,942 cases including 1,021 deaths and the total number of recovered cases are 17,184 cases while 134 were lost to follow-up, and 76 are still being investigated to ascertain their outcome — bringing the total number of active cases to 12,527.
There were 17 cases that were hospitalised while 12 were discharged. The number of admissions is also dropping as currently there is a total of 116 that are hospitalised — with Blantyre highest at 29 followed by 25 in Lilongwe and 17 in Mzimba North.
From the 2,475 COVID-19 tests that were were conducted, 811 were through SARS-COV-2 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic test while the rest were through RT-PCR. Cumulatively, 185,711 tests have been conducted in the country so far.
Meanwhile, in his televised address, Chakwera the interdiction of the controlling officers whose clusters had not been complying with his instruction for them to submit weekly expenditure reports on their allocation of the money disbursed to them by Treasury last month pave way for an independent audit of the K6.2 billion which was spent between September and December last year.
“The audit itself will take about a month to complete, as it involves two phases, the first of which will focus on validation of the report from the Presidential Task Force, while the second will focus on investigating how every kwacha was spent, by whom, and whether the spending was lawful.
“Upon completion of the independent audit, any public officers associated with wrongdoing will be dealt with and face the law. To effect these two directives, I tasked the Secretary [to the President and Cabinet Zangazanga Chikhosi] to consult with the Solicitor General, the Acting Auditor General, and others to ensure that the letters of interdiction to these cluster heads are written in a manner that is compliant with the law.”
He also introduced Dr. Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma whom he appointed last week as the new co-chairperson of the COVID-19 Taskforce, who has been tasked execute his duties differently to ensure regular and ongoing accountability of the COVID-19 funds.
He also announced that the African Union’s Envoy on Africa’s response to COVID-19 has guaranteed the country 100,000 vaccines for frontline health workers.
“Although the delivery of that consignment has been delayed by 7 days, we are on track to receive it by the end of this month along with 1.5 million doses of the vaccine that we expect to receive around the same time.
“This means that some time in the month of March, a vaccination program will be rolled out across the country to ensure that this dark night of daily COVID-19 deaths eventually comes to an end.”
He also said his next COVID-19 update, which will be his last until further notice, he will outline the measures his Administration has developed to cushion the poor against the economic aftershocks of the pandemic, to revitalize the business sector, and to get back on track with the agenda for transforming the country.