By Duncan Mlanjira
The rapid surge in COVID-19 cases in Malawi continues as of Monday, July 20, it registered 53 new cases, two new deaths in Blantyre and 27 new recoveries.
A situation report presented by co-chairperson of Presidential Taskforce Force on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka says as of Monday, the country has exceeded the mark of 3,000 confirmed cases and the number of deaths was at 64.
“Of the new 53 cases, 47 are locally transmitted infections and six are imported infections,” says Dr. Phuka’s update.
“Of the locally transmitted infections, three are health care workers from Mangochi, 22 from Blantyre, four from Neno, three from Mzimba South and Zomba and two each from Karonga, Lilongwe, Mwanza and Rumphi and one each from Chikwawa, Mchinji, Mzimba North and Nkhata Bay.
“The imported cases were identified at Mwanza border during routine screening: two each from Blantyre and Lilongwe and one each from Balaka and Mzimba South.”
Cumulatively, the report says, Malawi has recorded 3,045 cases including 64 deaths and that 909 of these are imported infections with 2,136 as locally transmitted.
“Cumulatively, 1,180 have now recovered bringing the number of active cases to 1,801.
“The average age of the cases is 35.7 years, the youngest case is aged 1 month, the oldest is 93 years and 65% are male.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Phuka says following this upsurge it shows the disease continues to spread at an alarming speed and bringing misery through disease and untimely losses of life.
“This calls for togetherness in the fight and everyone needs to take COVID-19 seriously.
“In this state, it is important to regard everyone you meet as potential carrier of the disease as out of every 10 people infected with Coronavirus, 8 will not feel sick at all.
“It is also important to note that COVID-19 is often more severe in order people and/or those that have health conditions like lung or heart diseases, diabetes (sugar disease) or hypertension (high blood pressure) or conditions that affect their immune system.
“If you are at high risk stay at home, practise 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 and this calls for enhanced preventive and containment measures:
*promote social distance to keep ourselves and others safe.
*promote frequent handwashing with soap to keep our hands clean all the time.
*reduce spread of the virus by wearing face masks and coughing appropriately.
*reduce spread by strictly observing isolation and quarantine protocols.
*reduce the spreading by limiting unnecessary travel,” says Phuka in his report.
Meanwhile, Malawi UK Military Community (MUMCo) will be fulfilling the pledged donation of personal protective equipments (PPEs) worth over K8 million for frontline healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients in Malawi.
This will be presented at College of Medicine Lilongwe Campus on Wednesday, July 22.
This follows a 7,000 miles challenge MUMCo) made last may to raise £7,000 (K7 million) that they conducted in May this year and after the adventure they exceeded their target and raised a total £8,723.
They have managed to procure isolation gowns, infrared thermos, N95 masks, surgical masks, goggles, pulse oximeters, protective suits and heavy duty PVC.
“As a community with the majority based in the UK and Europe, we saw the devastating effect of the Coronavirus pandemic not only to those communities, but also on the healthcare systems and the workers within them,” says MUMCo’s chairperson, Sheila Banda Tobie.
“These are well-financed and resourced healthcare systems; the thought of the pandemic hitting mother Malawi only brought us to the realisation that we need to do something to contribute every little that we could to try and reduce the burden.
“And so we decided to simulate running/walking/cycling all the way to Malawi from the UK (a distance of approximately 7,000miles) in order to raise £7000.”
Tobie expressed her profound thanks to all those who supported the cause that included members of the British public.
“The support we received was overwhelming from both the British public and fellow soldiers in UK and also in Malawi.
“Military personnel and veterans as well as families were committed and determined to ensure we succeed in our challenge and raise the funds to buy the PPEs.
“We are certain that this donation will continue to inspire more of these challenges and a sense of togetherness as we conquer this virus as a nation,” she said.
She added that the event actually brought the Community together in a very unique way since MUMCo members are geographically dispersed across the UK (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland), Germany, Canada and Malawi.
“Coordinating all of that operation remotely due to Coronavirus lockdowns was problematic logistically but we rose to it and the members were inspired throughout, utilising available media.
“We have been in touch with a few agencies in Malawi throughout the process to establish where there is most need including Society of Medical Doctors, the Presidential COVID-19 Task Force and several DHOs.
“All the agencies have been forward-leaning and very helpful. This gave us a good picture of where the PPEs should go, obviously determined by most need, accountability and also delivery.
“Karonga and Dedza came up as the most appropriate for our donation as recommended by Society of Medical Doctors and Presidential COVID-19 Task Force.