Malawi on Saturday recorded its second death from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) while three people, including the wife and in-law of the deceased, tested positive to take the tally of confirmed cases to 12.
The third confirmed case is a man in Nkhotakota, who recently returned from South Africa, and is now being monitored by the Nkhotakota District Hospital.
Minister of Health Jappie Mhango, who also chairs the Special Cabinet Task Committee on Covid-19, made the announcement at Mzuzu Central Hospital on Saturday as he updated the nation on the pandemic.
He said the deceased, a 44-year-old Canadian, whose case was confirmed on Friday, died at Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe.
More worrying, according to Mhango, is that the deceased, had come into contact with many people that include health workers, as he moved from one hospital to the other, seeking help, before he was diagnosed positive of Covid-19.
Said Mhango: “What we are doing is contact tracing, so everyone who came into contact with him will have to be traced and tested. For example, when he was going to one of the hospitals, he went by taxi, and the driver was tested, fortunately he came out negative. Another doctor at Kamuzu Central Hospital, who also came into contact with him has also gone into quarantine.”
Meanwhile, Mzuzu Central Hospital has commenced testing Covid-19 after successfully installing testing equipment.
Hospital director Frank Sinyiza said they have so far tested two people, who have all come out negative.
“Our equipment is up and running and it can take up to 64 samples at once. Being a newly installed one, it takes about three to four hours to give us results. Our only concern is that we see a lot of challenges, especially with guardians.
“For one patient, you find up to five guardians, so when they come to the hospital, we are telling them to go back to reduce congestion. The culture of hand-washing is also a challenge. We have to force some people to wash their hands,” he said.
Sinyiza said they are ready to handle Covid-19 cases, as they have adequate supplies to handle cases and designated places to quarantine suspected patients.