The public warns each other against complacency to COVID-19 preventive measures

By Duncan Mlanjira

As daily reports indicate that Malawi continues to register low occurrence of the COVID-19, it has been observed that the public has relaxed in adhering to the preventive measures that are still in force.

A cynical comment on social media, made by Robin Nyang’wa asked: “Has it been announced that COVID-19 is dead? I see fewer masks, no soap and no social distancing! [did] I miss that announcement!” to which Temwani Simwaka responded: “My worry too. It seems like we have moved on before the virus has moved on”.

Chris-Tofa Kapanga said the positive statistics from the presidential task force on COVID-19 are making people drop their guard — “and that is dangerous”.

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“My fellow Malawians, this is good news but I implore you not to throw caution to the wind. We still need to mask up in public and wash them hands at every opportunity.”

Chimwemwe Chinyamu added credence by saying it’s worrisome that more people are not putting on masks now.

“My daughter went to a wedding today and she wore her mask. She told me she was feeling out of place because more people had no masks. It’s worrisome. Tatayilira (we have relaxed too much).”

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Mary Nkombezi Magola was of the opinion that people are just desperate to be associating freely, “which is somehow worrisome — tatayilira ati chifukwa kukutentha (We have dropped our guard because now it’s very hot).”

John Mitchel said COVID-19 is still something everyone should consider as a serious threat and opined that he was not impressed with those tasked with sensitisation work.

But Mitchel is somehow out of order in blaming those tasked with sensitisation work because co-chairperson of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka — in his daily updates — keeps reminding the public not to drop their guard but continue to observe the preventive measures that are still in force.

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In his Saturday’s situation report, Dr. Phuka said Malawi did not register any new cases from the 231 tests that were conducted in the past 24 hours.

This milestone was only achieved on May 26 and Phuka says this gives the hope that if people continue to practice and adhere to all preventive and containment measures, the country can completely reduce the new infections.

There were no new deaths and the number of new recoveries were four — bringing the total of those recovered at 4,539.

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Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 5,783 cases including 179 deaths and following the high number of recoveries, active case are at 1,065.

Cumulatively, 54,246 tests have been conducted in the country so far and Dr. Phuka reiterates that the public should not relax and relent on the efforts of combat the pandemic.

Be aware that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly spreads by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze.

“It is thought that the virus may also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth or eyes, causing infection.

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“The spread of the virus is faster in overcrowded places. Therefore, it is especially important to take caution when organizing or when attending mass gatherings as the risk of contracting or spreading the disease is high.

“The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 or spreading the COVID-19 to others.

“COVID-19 preventive and containment measures should be highly considered for all mass gatherings such as frequent handwashing or sanitisation, maintaining at least 1 metre apart between individuals, wearing face mask properly and implementing environmental prevention practices such as cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.”

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