Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic have jumped to 65, following new cases of a Nkhata Bay couple that recently returned from Tanzania through Lake Malawi.
The development means out of the 23 imported cases, 12 of them have originated from Tanzania while 11 are shared among India, the United Kingdom, United States of America, Dubai, Canada, South Africa and Mozambique.
Speaking when addressing the media at Mzuzu Central Hospital yesterday, Minister of Health Jappie Mhango said the two Nkhata Bay patients are a 33-year-old man and his 35-year-old wife from Chibere Msumba Village, Traditional Authority Mkumbira in the district.
“They returned from Tanzania on May 12 using a boat across Lake Malawi. Upon arrival, the Nkhata Bay District Health Office was alerted using existing community structures and both were put on self-quarantine.
“Samples were taken on May 14 and tested at Mzuzu Central Hospital Laboratory and results came out positive. Both patients are clinically stable. Health workers are tracing all contacts so that they can also be tested for the virus.”
Recently, Nkhata Bay director of health and social services Mwatikonda Mbendera said there is need to constantly patrol Lake Malawi, as some people from Tanzania sneak into Malawi using the lake.
While Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers continue patrolling the waters, Mbendera wished they had a boat stationed at Nkhata Bay, but hailed their efforts.
Ministry of Health chief of health services Dr. Charles Mwansambo acknowledged the challenges in dealing with people who enter the country, but said measures are being put in place to deal with the same.
Meanwhile, Mhango has disclosed that Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Blantyre Dream Laboratories have commenced testing for Covid 19, bringing the total number of centres to 11.
Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 65 cases since the first case was reported on April 2 2020. Out of these, Lilongwe has 26, Blantyre has 16, while Thyolo comes third with nine cases, followed by Nkhata Bay at five cases. Mzuzu has three cases, while Zomba, Chikwawa, Nkhotakota, Karonga, Mangochi and Mulanje have one case each. There are three deaths so far, with two recorded in Lilongwe and one in Blantyre.