* 93 of the new cases are imported infections identified at Mwanza border
* 29 cases are currently admitted in four hospitals
* The disease has and is still causing havoc across the globe disrupting people’s lives
By Duncan Mlanjira
A situation report released today, January 3 indicates Malawi in the past 24 hours, Malawi has registered three new COVID-19 related deaths, 132 new cases and five new recoveries.
This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths at 195 and the total number of active cases at 750, up from slightly over 30 at the beginning of December, 2019.
And of the new cases are imported infections — 93 identified at Mwanza border as Malawians returnees from South Africa and their final destination districts are 21 are from Blantyre, 10 from Mangochi, seven each from Lilongwe, Mzimba South and Salima
Six of the imported cases are destined for Machinga, three each for Karonga, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota and Ntcheu, two each for Balaka, Chiradzulu, Dedza, Mzimba North, Nsanje, Thyolo and Zomba and one each for Chikwawa, Kasungu, Mchinji, Neno and Rumphi.
Destination districts of four of other cases are still being investigated.
While 39 are locally transmitted infections — 27 from Blantyre, nine from Lilongwe and one each from Nkhotakota, Thyolo, and Zomba Districts.
The three new deaths (a 69-year-old male, 81-year-old female and 27-year-old female) are from Blantyre Health District.
Of the active cases, 29 cases are currently admitted four hospitals — 14 at Queen Elizabeth Central, 10 at Kamuzu Central, two at Mzuzu Central, two at Balaka District and one at Zomba Central.
This calls for more searching and the need to take heed of the constant calls from the co-chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka, who is pleading with the general public to be on high alert in order to curb the rising second wave of the pandemic.
As a recap, going into December, new cases that were being registered were minimal and COVID-19 related deaths remained stagnant but on December 8, there was one new death, no new cases and the active cases were at 38.
Then the new cases started rising — 8 on December 12, 3 the next day, 4 on 14th, 10 on 15th, 11 on 16th, 47 on 17th, 10 on 18th, 5 on 19th, 8 on 20th, 41 on 21st and 46 on 22nd and 13 on 23rd.
On Christmas Eve, there were 16, on Christmas Day 62, and 4 on Boxing Day, 11 on Saturday the 27th, 23 on Sunday, 11 on Monday and 23 on Tuesday.
The figures then soared to 83 on Wednesday to 112 on New Year’s Eve, bringing the total active cases to 505 going into 2021 and now at 750 after today’s 132 in which there were five recoveries.
“Today we recorded the highest number of confirmed cases and new deaths in this new wave that is predominated by both local and imported transmission,” Dr. Phuka said.
“This is a shocking way to begin the new year considering the difficulties we have so far experienced since COVID-19 was first detected in December 2019.
“This disease has caused and is still causing havoc across the globe disrupting people’s lives. As we begin the year, it is time to do self-reflection and take stock in our fight against COVID-19.
“As we are making the new year resolutions let us include on how best we can collaborate and reduce the spread of the disease in our country.
“It is not time to pull ourselves apart by contesting rather after careful prioritisation, we should give up some social activities and even some economic activities to ensure our safety as well as continued development of our children.
“We need solutions from all sectors to save more lives and mitigate the COVID-19 impact on our lives, on the health system and on the economy.
“The destiny of our lives and the future of our children is our responsibility and it is in our hands,” pleads Dr. Phuka.
He reiterates that one of the important ways of the preventive measures in the fight COVID-19 is the proper wearing of facemask, which is part of a comprehensive package of the prevention and control measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19.
“Face masks can be used either for protection of healthy persons (worn to protect oneself when in contact with an infected individual) or for source control (worn by an infected individual to prevent onward transmission).
“I would like to appreciate to those that have taken up the wearing of mask seriously and let me encourage the public to wear a cloth mask always whenever they are going into crowded places.”
He added that compliance with other measures are very crucial in protecting oneself such physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and adequate ventilation in indoor settings.
On the use of cloth masks by children, Dr. Phuka says those aged up to five years should not wear masks for source control but for those aged 6 to 11 years — based on the child’s capacity to comply with the appropriate use of masks and availability of appropriate adult supervision.
“Children with severe cognitive or respiratory impairments who have difficulties tolerating a mask should, under no circumstances, be required to wear masks.”
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 6,844 cases and of these cases, 1,554 are imported infections and 5,290 are locally transmitted.
Cumulatively, 5,715 cases have now recovered, 108 were lost to follow-up, and 76 are still being investigated to ascertain their outcome.
The average age of the cases is 36.7 years, the youngest case being aged 1 month, the oldest being 98 years old and 68.3% are male.
On testing, in the past 24 hours, 607 COVID-19 tests were conducted, five of the new cases were confirmed by SARS-COV-2 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic test while the rest were through RT-PCR and cumulatively, 87,142 tests, have been conducted in the country so far.