Malawi’s confirmed coronavirus (Covid-19) cases have now reached 16 in the past 13 days since the first case was diagnosed and reported on April 2.
Briefing journalists at Ministry of Health headquarters in Lilongwe, chairperson of the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19, Jappie Mhango, said all the cases are in mild condition.
He has since appealed to people to continue practising personal hygiene methods, including washing hands with soap.
Mhango, who is Minister of Health, said: “Today, we have recorded three new cases of Covid-19. The cases have been confirmed by the College of Medicine laboratory in Blantyre.
“One case is a 22-year-old lady who arrived in Malawi from Dubai on 17th March 2020, another one is a close contact who lives in the same compound with a case that we confirmed yesterday [case number13].
“We are still collecting more details for the third case. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 16 with two deaths.”
The minister said government will today announce new measures on the prevention of the virus.
Current measures include restrictions on public gatherings, weddings and attendance of maximum of 50 people at funerals. Schools were also closed as did entry points such as airports and some borders. There are three borders still operational—Mchinji, Songwe in Karonga and Mwanza—to facilitate movement of essential goods and services.
In its briefings, the committee has refrained from mentioning specific locations of cases. In Blantyre, only the Mpingwe and Lunzu cases had locations disclosed while in Lilongwe the Area 9 and Area 25 cases had specific locations mentioned.
While commending government for not divulging much information on the locations of cases, Malawi Health Equity Network (Mehn) executive director George Jobe said disclosure can help in prevention as people would know where not to go.
He also said there is need for more awareness campaigns on the pandemic as the country did not expect to reach where it is.
So far six cases have been confirmed in Lilongwe with one death while Blantyre has eight cases with one death and Chikwawa and Nkhotakota have one case each.
Local transmissions of the disease were at nine as of yesterday. On the other hand, 273 people have been traced and about 74 of them have been tested
On December 31 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) was alerted of several cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.
WHO declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 12 2020.
In Malawi, President Peter Mutharika declared Covid-19 a State of National Disaster on March 20. The country reported its first three confirmed cases on April 2 2020.