By Duncan Mlanjira
Three people are reported to have succumbed to COVID-19 as the rapid surge of cases in Malawi continues as of Thursday, July 23, 84 cases were registered — up from 53 new cases on Monday on which two were deaths.
A situation report presented by co-chairperson of Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka says the three deaths occurred in Nkhata Bay, Karonga and Nsanje.
Also as of Thursday, there were 46 new recoveries bringing the total number to 1,328 recoveries.
“Of the new 84 cases, 83 are locally transmitted infections and one is imported — a refugee who just arrived at Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa,” says Dr. Phuka’s update.
“Of the locally transmitted infections, 25 are from Blantyre, 22 from Lilongwe, 11 from Nsanje and one each from Balaka, Chiradzulu, Karonga, Machinga, Mangochi, Mchinji, Mzimba South, Mzimba North and Nkhotakota.”
The update adds that cumulatively Malawi has recorded 3,386 cases including 79 deaths and of these 916 are imported infections and 2,470 being local transmissions.
The average age of the cases is 36 years, the youngest being aged 1 month, the oldest is 93 years old while men top the list at 66%.
The country has so far conducted 25,756 COVID-19 tests in 39 testing sites.
As the local transmissions is on the rise, Dr. Phuka is encouraging everyone to wear a cloth mask whenever they are going into crowded places.
“Those with positive COVID-19 result should self-isolate and put on medical mask all the time [and] medical masks must always be used when taking care of COVID-19 suspected people or COVID-19 patients both in health care setting or at home.
“Health care workers and other frontline workers are reminded to strictly follow Infection Prevention and Control measures all the time.”
Dr. Phuka outlines proper use of face masks as follows:
*Clean hands before putting on the mask;
*Inspect the mask for tears and holes, do not use a mask that is damaged;
*Adjust the mask to cover the mouth, nose and chin, leaving no gaps on the sides;
*Avoid touch the mask while wearing it;
*Change mask if it gets dirty or wet;
*Clean hands before taking off the mask;
*Take off mask by removing it from ear loops without touching the front of the mask;
*Medical masks are for a single use only — discard the mask immediately, preferably into a closed bin. Do not liter;
*Wash hands with soap after removing mask;
*If using a cloth mask, wash it in hot water using soap at least once a day.
“Remember, a mask alone cannot protect you from COVID-19 — it must be combined with other measures, including maintaining at least one-meter distance from each other, washing hands frequently and avoiding touching your face while wearing a mask,” says Dr. Phuka.