Malawi has received the first batch of the donated coronavirus (Covid-19) equipment courtesy of Chinese philanthropist Jack Ma.
Ministry of Health (MoH) spokesperson Joshua Malango said in an interview yesterday the equipment that arrived through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) includes 100 000 masks, 20 089 test kits, 741 personal protective equipment (PPE) and 1 111 face shields.
Despite government announcing a K15 billion response plan for Covid-19, the arrival of the equipment seems to be a relief as reports indicate that the country faces a shortage of equipment mainly at border posts.
With the donation, government can test up to 20 000 Covid-19 suspects and the rest of the tools can support over 1 000 people should the country record cases.
Malango said government is still looking for more support and there is need to fix isolation facilities to be fully operational.
He said: “So far, 19 people have been tested and all came out negative. We are appealing for more support from the private sector and individuals. There is need to fix some of the isolation and treatment facilities. In the meantime, some partners are supporting us while government will also do its part.”
As the equipment was being ferried into the country on Wednesday, statistics also indicated that over 300 people arrived in the country mostly from South Africa which has so far registered over 700 cases.
MoH chief of health services Charles Mwansambo said yesterday, 304 people arrived in the country on Wednesday with 50 of them entering through Dedza and 30 through KIA while the other 159 entered through Mwanza and 65 through Chileka Airport.
During a visit to Mchinji border on Tuesday this week, Immigration officials told the Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus that the border registers an average entry of 400 people a day.
The figure if aggregated with those who entered through other borders and airports on Wednesday required government to screen at least 700 a day.
The statistics also show that 473 people who are on follow up arrived in the country through Chileka International Airport, 412 through KIA, 639 through Mwanza and 1040 entered through Dedza.
The country has so far recorded 2 792 people from countries like China, South Africa and other nations which have been listed as high risk zones on coronavirus.
It is believed that a larger number of people use uncharted routes which, according to Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi, who is also a member of the Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus, said need to be patrolled.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has since developed interim guidance for laboratory diagnosis, advice on the use of masks during home care and in health care settings, clinical management, infection prevention and control in health care settings, home care for patients with suspected novel coronavirus, risk communication and community engagement as well as global surveillance for human infection with novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
WHO is also working closely with International Air Transport Association (IATA) and they have since jointly developed a guidance document for cabin crew and airport workers, based on country queries.
Furthermore, it is working with its networks of researchers and other experts to coordinate global work on surveillance, epidemiology, mathematical modelling, diagnostics and virology, clinical care and treatment, infection prevention and control among other strategies.
Coronavirus was first registered in Wuhan City in China in December 2019 and it has since infected about 500 000 people and killed over 23 000 people globally.