By Duncan Mlanjira
Returning residents and foreigners flying into Malawi will be required to produce a COVID-19 PCR negative certificate of not more than 10 days old from a designated testing laboratory of the country they are coming from and should be fully signed by approved signatories.
A statement from Secretary of Health in the Ministry of Health (MoH), Dr. Charles Mwansambo, said if a traveller arrives at the point of entry in Malawi without a valid certificate, they will be required to undergo a mandatory nasopharyngeal sample taken to be tested for COVID-19.
For this testing service, the travelers will be required to pay US$50 for Malawians and returning residents and US$100 for foreigners.
“The traveller will be required to proceed to his/her destination for self quarantine and the results will follow,” Mwansambo said.
“If a foreigner tests positive, she/he will be managed according to guidelines of Malawi at her/his cost.
“If a foreigner decides to go back home whilst still positive, she/he will be required to travel whilst maintaining the COVID-19 protocols of physical distancing, hand hygiene and masking at her/his cost.”
He further said if a Malawi and returning residents tests positive, they will be managed according to the country’s guidelines.
In Thursday’s situation report from presidential taskforce on COVID-19, co-chairperson Dr. John Phuka says the country continues to observe a downward trend in the number of new COVID-19 cases and related deaths as well as an improvement in numbers of those that have recovered.
From the 457 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours, five new cases were registered and they were 26 new recoveries with no new deaths.
Two of the new cases are locally transmitted infections and are both from Blantyre and the other three are imported cases that just arrived at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 5,716 cases including 179 deaths and of these cases, 4,026 cases have now recovered surpassing the
70% recovery mark — bringing the total number of active cases to 1,511.
Over 49,798 tests have been conducted in the country and as the numbers of those that have recovered have declined, Dr. Phuka says: “This gives hope that it is possible to fight and reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as increase survival from this disease.
“Let me also point out that 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.
“Further, as we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in our country, our focus should also be on other disease priorities that continue affecting us such as malaria, TB, HIV, non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes), sexual and reproductive health, and immunization services.
“Let me point out that these essential services are still being provided in all our health facilities and designated outreach clinics.
“Let me encourage the public to seek health care early as whenever necessary and utilize the Chipatala Cha Pa Foni platform by dialing 54747 or by dialing 929.
“Those on long-term treatment ensure that you have pre-stocked your drugs and that you are adhering to the medication,” Dr. Phuka said.