By Kondwani Magombo, MANA
There were fears that the COVID-19 could escalate in Mangochi and Mzimba due to high number of people that trek to and from South Africa from the two districts since April when cases of the pandemic that were being recorded were imported infections from South Africa.
But Mangochi has proved it wrong and so far only recorded 156 COVID-19 cases and two related deaths — indicating the district has played a good role in the battle against the pandemic given the risk factor the district had.
Thus the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 that visited Mangochi to appreciate the pandemic’s interventions on Wednesday hailed its District and Municipality Councils’ for their concerted efforts in the fight.
The team comprising Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Agnes NyaLonje; Minister of Labour, Ken Kandodo and leader of opposition, Kondwani Nankhumwa visited DMI University and Mangochi Central Market before convening with the two councils for a briefing.
“We are very impressed and this clearly shows that you’ve all worked together towards one goal and we would like to appeal to you not to relent because the war is not over yet,” NyaLonje said.
While the Leader of Opposition expressed satisfaction but called upon the two councils not to relax but keep on fighting.
“Let’s not be complacent — if we don’t keep ourselves on guard we may experience a second wave of COVID-19 and that’s not what we want,” Nankhumwa said.
Kandodo hailed the Mangochi District Health Office (DHO) for “labouring tirelessly” and urged all sectors to ensure that prevention begins right from homes and workplaces before being in public places.
District Council chairperson, Allan Mmadi made special mention of Mangochi DHO’s director of health and social services, Dr. Henry Chibowa; district medical officer Dr. Chimwemwe Chithambo and chief preventive health officer, Dr. Kondwani Mamba for leading a well-coordinated fight against the pandemic.
Mangochi has so far conducted 536 COVID-19 tests with 156 positive from which 151 recoveries have been recorded and 3 cases are still active, according to Dr. Chithambo.
Meanwhile, from 154 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours of Thursday, Malawi registered three new cases, one new recovery and no new deaths.
The new cases are locally transmitted infections — two from Blantyre and one from Zomba.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 6,043 cases including 185 deaths and of these cases, 1,183 are imported infections and 4,860 are locally transmitted.
Cumulatively, 5,472 cases have now recovered, 103 were lost to follow-up and 242 are still being investigated to ascertain their outcome — bringing the total number of active cases to 41.
In his Thursday situation report, co-chairperson the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka the low of numbers of confirmed cases being reported on daily basis has not come by chance but by the combined efforts of the public, health workers and other frontline staff and partners in adhering to the preventive and containment measures.
“The status being observed now could be disrupted as there is a general relaxation in the practicing of preventive measures by the public,” he said.
“This is putting our country at a threat of experiencing a second wave of the pandemic. Other countries within the continent and outside Africa are experiencing a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases.
“We really need to act carefully and adhere to all preventive measures of COVID-19 and more importantly this time when we have opened up the economy and easing on the restrictions on social activities such as football matches, music shows, weddings and other mass gatherings.
“As this is a festive month, I would like to request every one of us to plan the festive activities with an inclusion of COVID-19 preventive measures to ensure that risk of transmission is minimized.
“To effectively supress the spread of COVID-19 there is need for all us to practice all the preventive measures including observing physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and ensuring adequate ventilation in indoor settings as these are essential for reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID19.
“It’s not over until it’s over — wear face mask, protect yourself and protect those around us.—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express