The case of a 30-year-o l d C h i kwawa businessperson who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) has exposed gaps in enforcement of self-quarantine and raised fears he might have exposed hundreds to the virus.
Information The Nation has gathered indicates that the Ngabu-based man reported himself to hospital on April 4 2020 when he become symptomatic, 19 days after his arrival from South Africa.
He had travelled from South Africa by road and arrived at Mwanza Border Post on March 15 2020. He then proceeded about 198 through Blantyre, apparently ignorant that he was carrying the deadly virus that has ground the world to a standstill. kilometres to his base at Ngabu In Blantyre, out of at least 1 000 people registered to be followed up, only 70 are set to be tested for Covid-19 because they were in contact with the earlier confirmed cases. Of the 70, 12 have been tested and one came up with a positive result.
The management of the cited cases reflects the level of government’s preparedness to fight the deadly virus as hundreds of Malawians that might be carrying it are freely criss-crossing the streets of Malawi un-quarantined, untested and unmonitored.
These revelations cast a huge shadow on what government has been presenting that it was monitoring and following up cases of suspected Covid-19. This further contradicts measures that government put in place in the National Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan launched on Wednesday.
In an interview yesterday, Chikwawa District Health Office (DHO) spokesperson Settie Piriminta said the man that tested positive in the district stayed for almost 19 days supposedly in self-quarantine and he reported himself after noticing symptoms.
He said the man, who is married with children, was advised to stay in isolation for 14 days like all
other travellers after a quick body temperature check at the border.
Piriminta said the man was allowed to travel to Ngabu on the understanding that he would be monitoring himself. He said the Chikwawa DHO was not notified about his case.
Said Piriminta: “He was given a set of numbers to call if he notices signs that are synonymous to those of coronavirus. The man said when he noticed the signs he started calling the numbers and luckily managed to get through one of the numbers.
“The doctor who received the phone in Lilongwe contacted Chikwawa DHO and then a team comprising health surveillance assistants [HAS] and rapid response was dispatched to the area and samples were taken on April 4 2020.”
He said the positive results of the tests, which were conducted at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), came two days later. The team then travelled to Ngabu to inform him of the outcome and collected samples from family members.
At the time of the interview, yesterday morning, the results for the family members were not yet out.
Ngabu is a trading centre with a population of 7 032, according to the 2018 Population and Housing Census conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
Piriminta conceded that the man was not being monitored
with fairness and impartiality.
Malawians expect the Judiciary to be transparent. They expect judges to be accountable at all times. Are we transparent? Are we accountable?”
The President’s statement comes barely two months after he faulted the Constitutional Court ruling that nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election results on February 3 2020 and ordered a fresh election within 150 days.
He described the judgement as subversion of justice and an attack on the country’s democratic system and an attempt to undermine the will of the people.
In an interview after the ceremony, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda commended Mutharika for appointing the three judges.
He, however, said the new judges will not bring much change as four other judges, two each from the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and the High Court are expected to retire this year.
According to Judiciary spokesperson Agness Patemba the judges set to retire are Maclean Kamwambe, Jane Ansah, Anthony Kamanga and Esmie Chombo.
Asked on whether the Judiciary and Executive arms are at loggerheads following the Constitutional Court ruling and judge bribe claims which he reported to the Anti- Corruption Bureau, Nyirenda said misunderstandings are inevitable between all arms of the government.
Kamowa has been working with the Judiciary for over 12 years as a judicial officer. For the last six years, she has been chairperson of the Industrial Relations Court.
Masoamphambe has served as a resident magistrate, rising through the ranks since 2000 before his appointment as deputy registrar of the High Court in 2018.
Alide, on the other hand, has over 25 years experience as legal counsel in corporate and commercial law.