At least 276 returnees who have escaped lockdown in South Africa due to corona virus (Covid-19) on Saturday arrived in the country on six buses through Mwanza Border Post.
Blantyre Covid-19 incident manager Penjani Chunda in an interview said they have tightened measures and improved on the welfare of returnees as they arrive in the country.
He said all returnees will first be asked to provide their contact details, get screened and tested at Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) and those that test positive will be quarantined right away at KCN or Kameza Isolation Centre for 14 days while those that test negative will be in self isolation with healthcare workers visiting them to see if they are following the advice.
Said Chunda: “Government has learnt a lesson from the previous incident where returnees left Kamuzu Stadium before their results were out. So, we are now prepared for the returnees so that they should feel welcomed into their home country.”
Last week, about 441 returnees from South Africa abandoned Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre where they had been held as they awaited their Covid-19 test results.
These were part of about 757 returnees who had arrived on 17 buses from South Africa and Zimbabwe in the past weeks before the group that arrived on Saturday.
Chunda further assured Malawians that results of the tests are accurate, saying they are using reliable apparatus and the test goes through more than one lab for quality control and checks.
On his part, Malawi Red Cross Society communication and humanitarian specialist Felix Washon said they are supporting government by providing the returnees with money, two blankets each and eight tablets of soap from their Covid-19 budget.
“We are giving them what we call a historical link by giving each one of them three minutes free calls on our numbers to be in touch with their relatives and friends,” he said.
Washon also encouraged Malawians not to discriminate against Covid-19 positive people.
The returnees were escorted by police officers and were given food. They were also taken to Kanjeza Lodge where they spent the night.
So far, Malawi has registered 279 confirmed Covid-19 cases with four deaths.