Malawi yesterday registered five new cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, a development that has seen confirmed cases sharply rising to 70 since the first case was reported on April 2 2020.
Giving a status update to the media in Mzuzu last evening, Minister of Health Jappie Mhango said the five cases comprise two each in Blantyre and Lilongwe and one in Zomba.
The minister said: “For Lilongwe, the first patient is a 30-year-old from Lumbadzi who recently returned from South Africa on 12th May. He arrived using uncharted routes. The second one is a 45-year-old male Tanzanian who arrived from Tanzania on May 1 and stays at Biwi.
“Two cases confirmed at College of Medicine Laboratory in Blantyre are healthcare workers under Blantyre District Health Office. They are both females aged 24 and 49 working in Limbe. These are contacts of one of the staff members in Blantyre who had tested positive.”
Mhango said Malawi has so far tested 1 841 samples with 70 confirmed cases and 17 pending results. Of the 70, three died, 27 have recovered and 40 are still under the management of healthcare workers, but are stable, he said.
With the new cases, Lilongwe now has 28, Blantyre 18, Thyolo nine cases and Nkhata Bay five.
On the other hand, Mzuzu has three cases, Zomba two and one each in Chikwawa, Nkhotakota, Karonga, Mangochi and Mulanje.
The two new cases of healthcare workers mean that out of the 70 national cases, seven—representing 10 percent—are health workers, all under Blantyre District Health Office.
In an earlier interview, Malawi Health Equity Network (Mehn) executive director George Jobe said healthcare workers’ cases signal the need for more investment in protection of health care workers, but that the cases must not create fear among cadres.
“This is telling us that we need serious investment in protection of healthcare workers. This is not just about personal protective equipment. It is also about disinfecting buildings, about sanitisers.
“Our health workers require support, not just from government, but even from individuals. They are our front line soldiers and have to be protected at all cost, let us all help them,” he said.
Malawi has 11 Covid-19 testing centres located at National Health Reference Laboratory (NHRL) in Lilongwe; College of Medicine Laboratory, Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust (MLW), Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Blantyre Dream Laboratories in Blantyre.
Others are Mzuzu and Zomba central hospitals’ laboratories, Mzimba South district hospital laboratory, Balaka Dream Laboratory, as well as Thyolo and Nsanje district hospital laboratories.