The Ministry of Health has received 38 000 Covid-19 test kits which arrived through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
The test kits, some of which arrived on Tuesday and others on Wednesday, will help the ministry to test more people for Covid-19 so as to isolate those that test positive and prevent further spread of the virus.
Ministry of Health chief of health services Dr Charles Mwansambo said there were problems with flights coming into Malawi, worsened by the airport workers strike, which led to the delay in receiving the test kits.
He said: “I am glad that all that is behind us now and we are able to return to normal testing. But I must emphasise that we still need to go with the targeted testing and only use them for those that really need it because we have a lot of people simply walking into our facilities wanting to be tested, even without any known contacts with Covid-19 patients. So, we need to target it for those that either have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who is a known positive.”
Mwansambo said the 38 000 test kits are estimated to last five weeks and that procurement for the kits is ongoing.
He said: “The procurement is ongoing and I hope flights into Malawi will improve with time so that we get the supplies regularly. The problem this time around was mainly due to logistical arrangements in trying to get them here, otherwise we procured them a while back.”
By July 22, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 were 3 302, with 153 new cases and 76 deaths, which indicates that the number of infections is still rising, and mostly compounded by local transmissions. Malawi has so far conducted 25 281 tests since April 2020.
In a statement on Wednesday, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Dr John Phuka emphasised the importance of following Covid-19 preventive measures as local transmission is on the rise.
He also warned against people wanting to be tested when they do not have Covid-19 symptoms or have not been in contact with those who tested positive.
Due to Covid-19, Malawi declared a state of National Disaster on March 20 2020 and on April 2 the country recorded its first three cases.