Karonga District director of health and social services David Sibale has said the district will have a Covid-19 testing laboratory at Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit at Chilumba.
Speaking in an interview on Saturday, he said the centre will start operating this week.
Sibale said the laboratory will save the district hospital’s expenses spent on sending specimen to Mzuzu.
“Being a border district, Karonga needs a testing centre so we can test as many people as possible before they proceed to other districts,” he said
Sibale said the laboratory will have the capacity to process 72 specimens at once and release the results after one and half hours.
He said in the event that some specimen have come out positive while the person is asymptomatic, they will be put on self-quarantine for 14 days.
Speaking in a separate interview, Karonga Malawi Red Cross Society coordinator Blessings Mlowoka said while having a Covid-19 testing centre is a welcome development, but asked government and other stakeholders to open another testing centre at Songwe Border Post.
“It will be important to test people at Songwe Border Post before they proceed to other districts to contain the spread of the pandemic,” he said.
Mlowoka’s call comes barely days after Mzimba Heritage Association (Mziha) asked Ministry of Health to quarantine people at Songwe Border Post.
Mziha vice-secretary general Kingsley Jere observed that some Covid-19 cases in the country had a history of travelling to Tanzania.
Once operational, the laboratory will bring the number of testing centres in the Northern Region to three after Mzuzu Central Hospital and Mzimba District Hospital.