Malawi has registered 7 new COVID-19 related deaths in past 24hrs; 557 new cases, 44 new recoveries

* All new cases are local transmitted infections, Blantyre highest at 231

* This brings the total number of active cases to 6,416.

* Of the active cases 162 are currently admitted in 18 hospitals

* Queen Elizabeth Central in Blantyre having the highest at 63

By Duncan Mlanjira

Malawi has registered a total of seven COVID-19 related new deaths; 557 new cases and 44 new recoveries in the past 24 hours of Monday, January 18.

A situation report from the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 co-chairperson, Dr. John Phuka says all new cases are locally transmitted infections with Blantyre as the highest at 231.

There are 147 from Lilongwe, 70 from Neno, 24 from Ntcheu, 14 from Mwanza, 13 from Chitipa and 10 from Karonga.

Seven of the new case are from Thyolo, six from Kasungu, four each from Balaka, Dowa, Ntchisi, and Rumphi, three each from Chiradzulu, Mulanje, and Nkhata Bay, two each from Mchinji, Nkhotakota, Phalombe, and Zomba, and one each Machinga and Salima districts.

The two new deaths are from Zomba, and one each from Balaka, Blantyre, Lilongwe, Nkhata Bay, and Mangochi districts.

The total number of active cases is now at 6,416, of which 162 are currently admitted in 18 hospitals across the country with Blantyre’s Queen Elizabeth Central having the highest at 63.

There are 58 in Lilongwe, seven in Mzimba North, four each in Karonga, Kasungu, Mulanje and Zomba with three each in Mangochi and Balaka.

Two each are in Mzimba South, Dowa, Nkhotakota, Dedza, and Rumphi and one each in Mchinji and Thyolo.

In his situation report, Dr. Phuka reminded the public of President Lazarus Chakwera’s address on Sunday in which he  gave a clear direction on the COVID-19 fight to reduce the spread of the disease, saving more lives and ensure that all the response pillars are up and running.

“The President called every one of us to accept the situation that we are currently in and directed that we immediately stop the selfish and careless behaviours that are fuelling the spread of the disease at both individual and communal levels.

President Chakwera

“The President further indicated and I quote ‘I trust that you will change and call out others around you who are not compliant. We must be our brother’s and sister’s keeper’.

“Let me ask everyone to take heed of what the President has said and we really need to stop the spread of the disease. This can only be done if all of us act decisively and choose to adhere to the preventive measures.”

Dr. Phuka said these preventive measures include frequent handwashing with soap; proper wearing of mask, avoiding over- crowded places; practicing cough and sneeze etiquette; staying home if they have flu like symptoms and decontaminating commonly touched surfaces.

Coronavirus alert

Dr. Phuka said there is a general late seeking behavior among the public whereby patients are arriving at treatment units while in severe state and this is contributing to poor disease outcomes.

“For those that have severe form of the disease, they are supposed to seek care immediately where appropriate care is given.

“The public should be informed that in our treatment/isolation units, we have experienced and dedicated health care workers that are working tirelessly to save lives.

“A lot of patients are being discharged on daily basis from our treatment units. As you can notice from the data from the past 24 hours, we have recorded 12 in-patients that were discharged from the treatment units and are now home.

“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 thus encourages 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.

“Odwala ena akumati akumva ngati akudwala malungo (some patients say they are feeling like they have malaria). This will help us to identify the disease in early stages so that appropriate care can be given immediately.

“Let me also encourage those that have been confirmed to COVID-19 positive to promptly seek care if they are experiencing shortness of breath.

Coronavirus alert

“If you feel stressed during this period, please seek psychosocial support by calling your nearest facility or by calling 54747 (Airtel) or 929 (TNM) or 0882 431 111.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 13,027 cases including 321 deaths (case fatality rate is at 2.5%). Of these cases, 1,851 are imported infections and 11,176 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.

In the past 24 hours, treatment units recorded 18 new admissions and 12 in-patients were discharged and on testing, in the past 24 hours, 1,439 COVID-19 tests were conducted of which 494 were through SARS-COV-2 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic test while the rest were through RT-PCR.

This translates to a positivity rate of 38.7% and cumulatively, 110,214 tests have been conducted in the country so far.

Coronavirus alert