By Duncan Mlanjira
Saturday’s COVID-19 situation update says Malawi has registered 108 new COVID-19 cases, 39 new recoveries and six new deaths, bring the deaths to 120 since April when the country recorded its first three cases.
A situation report from co-chairperson of Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka says two of the deaths are from Lilongwe and one from Likoma.
The other three deaths are from Lilongwe — two occurred on 27th July and one occurred on 26th July.
The report says all new cases are locally transmitted infections of which two are healthcare workers from Nkhata Bay. As of Thursday, one new case involved a health care worker from Mzimba South as the frontline health care workers in the fight against the pandemic continue to be vulnerable.
Saturday last week’s update had four of them; Sunday had five; Monday had five while Tuesday’s update had 29 new.
The distribution of the other cases is as follows: 60 from Blantyre, 22 from Lilongwe, 12 from Nkhata Bay, five from Zomba and one each from Balaka, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dowa, Likoma, Mangochi and Mzimba North.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 4,186 cases including 120 deaths. Of these cases, 993 are imported infections and 3,193 are locally transmitted.
Cumulatively, 1,914 cases have now recovered bringing the total number of active cases to 2,152.
The average age of the cases is 36.6 years, the youngest case being aged 1 month, the oldest being 93 years and 66.9% are male.
The country has so far conducted 30,930 COVID-19 tests in 39 COVID-19 testing sites of which 663 tests have been done in the past 24 hours.
As the disease continues to spread in our country, Dr. Phuka reminds the public that COVID-19 is often more severe in older people and/or those that have health conditions like lung or heart disease, diabetes (sugar disease), hypertension (high BP), TB and HIV, asthma or conditions that affect their immune system.
“It is important ensure that the chronic condition you live with is under control; this means ensuring you are regularly taking medication for diabetes (sugar disease), hypertension (high BP), HIV, TB and asthma.
“If you are at high risk stay at home, practice preventive measures to minimize your risk of infection and if you are not at high risk, do your part to prevent the spread of coronavirus to those who are.
“Let us protect the vulnerable populations. Lastly, it important to make sure to practice proper food safety and hygiene to keep healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is especially vital to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. When you are well nourished, the body is better able to resist or combat infection.
“I want to encourage everyone to consume a diversified budget diet comprising of six food groups to boost their immunity regardless of health status.
“People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases including COVID-19.
“It helps to alleviates the symptoms and promotes recovery. Proper nutrition and hydration are vital.
“Together we can stop the spread of the virus. Stay home, Stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Dr Phuka.
He continues to reiterate on the preventive measures that include:
*Frequent handwashing with soap of disinfection with alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
*Respiratory hygiene such as covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing;
*Avoiding over crowded places;
*Physical distancing of at least 1 meter;
*Proper wearing of masks and avoidance of sharing of used masks;
*Regular environmental cleaning and disinfection;
*Staying at home and to contact medical personnel on 54747 if experiencing flu, cough and/or fever;
*Limiting unnecessary travel;
*Strictly adhering to self-isolation and self-quarantine protocols for those confirmed positive and exposed respectively.
Dr. Phuka also says there is no known scientific evidence to show immunity in recovered patients and thus there is need for those that have recovered to take extra care in adhering to the preventive measures.
And he also strongly advised the public to desist from using unproven drugs as self medication for COVID-19 whether as a treatment or as prophylaxis as this could lead to serious side effects leading to drug resistance in the long run.
On the continental level, Africa has seen an increase of over 14,000 COVID-19 cases as of July 31 with confirmed total from 55 African countries has reached 909,124.
Reported deaths have reached 19,320 and recoveries 556,639.
South Africa has the most reported cases — 482,169, with deaths numbering 7,812. Other most-affected countries include Egypt (93,757), Nigeria (42689,), Algeria (29831), and Ghana (35,142).
The numbers are compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University using statistics from the World Health Organization and other international institutions as well national and regional public health departments.