he world has been hit hard by coronavirus infection, popularly known as Covid-19.
This virus has infected over 300 000 people worldwide, with more than 13 000 deaths in over 150 countries. Right now, Africa has 1 436 confirmed cases in 46 countries and 17 deaths.
These numbers are rising fast and it is only a matter of time before the pandemic crosses into Malawi.
As the number of countries with confirmed coronavirus cases increases every day, it is not radical to ban public events in the country.
We need draconian measures in readiness for the potential outbreak in Malawi, which has not reported any confirmed case.
By the time we have the first case, it may not be the only one. This is why public events, including prayer sessions, weddings, football games, political rallies and music shows should be suspended.
Mass gatherings are a fertile ground for the spread of corona virus. The virus can spread from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Those who have not started showing symptoms yet can still spread it and more than a dozen studies have concluded that these individuals might be responsible for a substantial amount of infection.
You can also get the coronavirus by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching your eyes, mouth or nose.
This is why washing hands with soap frequently and avoiding touching your face is effective.
In Kenya, public events were banned after the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed.
A Kenyan woman who travelled from the USA tested positive for the corona virus.
It is better for Malawi to act fast considering the status of our health care system.
Imagine our hospitals trying to handle thousands of patients every day. Our healthcare system is going to be overwhelmed. As a result many people will die. If you think my paranoia is getting worse, look at what is happening in Italy.
There is no treatment available for many patients in Italy.
In a short period, the number of cases has peaked steadily to over 500 deaths every day.
While travel restrictions, quarantines and heightened hygiene have been known to work, reducing contact between individuals helps to prevent silent transmission especially from people with hidden symptoms .
This is why suspending public events is more than effective than just banning meetings comprising at least 100 people.
Telling people to avoid handshakes while they are still going to public events will not do the magic.
To win this fight, it will all depend on a good strategy. If we do what is necessary in advance, we might avoid putting pressure on our overwhelmed healthcare system and medical workers.
Individuals should also keep themselves and those around them safe by following simple steps such as washing your hands with soap frequently and avoiding handshakes.
Avoid touching your face, cover your cough with the bend of your elbow or tissue, avoid crowded places, stay at home if you are feeling unwell and avoid misinformation by keeping yourself updated with the latest information from official sources.
This is not the end of the world. Do not panic, just take care.