Malawi has registered 26 cases of local transmission of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic since the country reported its first three cases on April 2, updates from Ministry of Health (MoH) show.
Daily updates from MoH indicate that out of the 41 positive cases confirmed, local transmission which is at 26 has surpassed the 15 imported cases, a development that has prompted Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to ask government to close Songwe Border Post in Karonga because most cases are originating from Tanzania.
The daily updates also show that Lilongwe remains the pandemic’s epicentre in the country with 18 local transmissions followed by Blantyre with six and Mzuzu with two.
Speaking during a round-table discussion on Tuesday at Ministry of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Headquarters in Lilongwe where HRDC met government officials over the alleged abuse of Covid-19 funds, the rights watchdog noted that Malawi still has its borders open and that Tanzania seemed to be contributing more to the cases so far.
In an interview on the call by HRDC, Malawi Healthy Equity Network executive director George Jobe stressed the need to have an isolation centre at Songwe.
He also said government should review the impact of self-quarantine which seems not to be helping.
“The self-isolation or quarantine system is bringing more cases. Stop self-isolation system, quarantine all who test positive and returnees to Malawi. Songwe border in Karonga must have a quarantine site,” said Jobe.
In his reaction, Minister of Health Jappie Mhango said government has noted the developments and is devising ways to manage the situation at Songwe. He said the nation would be updated once investigations are concluded.
The latest cases in the country are two Tanzanians who travelled to Malawi through Songwe border to deliver essential goods.
Mhango on Monday identified the two as a 26-year-old truck driver and his 17-year-old assistant who tested positive in Blantyre and have since been put on quarantine.
He said healthcare workers are currently tracing the contacts of the latest two cases to put them in isolation, follow-up and testing. Out of the 41 cases, nine have successfully recovered—four in Lilongwe, three from Blantyre and one each from Nkhotakota and Chikwawa. There are three deaths recorded—one in Blantyre and two in Lilongwe.