The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 says it is monitoring the positivity rate and other variables that influence a review of restrictions to contain the further spread of the disease.
In an interview yesterday, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Dr. Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma said besides the positivity rate, the task force also considers the number of hospital admissions, the capacity of the health system to handle the cases and how the disease is spreading in communities.
He said: “The incubation period for Covid-19 is around 10 to 21 days, so we would want to know if we give it 10 to 21 days to decide whether actually it is still increasing or whether it has stabilised, that it was just a localised outbreak.
“So, we will be looking at the combination of all those [parameters] and not only the positivity rate. Surely, the numbers of cases have increased and the positivity rate has increased and these are parameters we will have to continue monitor as a task force to make a decision of when and if we would like to adjust any of the restrictions that are currently in place.”
Covid-19 positivity rate in the country has sharply increased by about 169 percent in the past seven days between June 13 and 19 compared to the positivity rate registered between June 6 and 12 2021.
Public Health Institute of Malawi (Phim) Covid-19 reports indicate that out of 4 646 Covid-19 tests conducted in the past seven days, about 348 people tested positive, representing about 7.8 percent positivity rate. During the previous week covering June 6 to 12, out of 3 523 tests, 104 came out positive, representing 2.9 percent positivity rate.
Commenting on the increase in the positivity rate in a written response, Professor Adamson Muula, who is head of public health at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (Kuhes), formerly College of Medicine, said an upward surge in positivity rate is not a good sign in as far as the fight against the virus is concerned.
He noted that the previous waves showed that the problem starts in the neighbouring countries before spreading to Malawi.
Said Muula: “If the current trend continues, we may end up in a real third wave. If January and February 2021 is the standard then our dark days may be on their way.
“It is also important to note that coronavirus largely spreads because of human activity. What we do or do not do have a great influence on what this country will be a month or two months from now.”
He said the Covid-19 regulations Minister for Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda gazetted in May this year were adequate, but noted that people have relaxed all over, from duty-bearers to the ordinary citizens.
In a separate interview Society of Medical Doctors in Malawi president Victor Mithi said that most of the new Covid-19 cases are imported and there is a need for authorities to enforce restrictions and tighten security at the country’s borders.
In May, government eased some of the Covid-19 restrictions due to the drop in the positivity rate which averaged three percent. The eased restrictions included increasing from 50 to 100 the number of people for indoor gatherings, from 100 to 250 for public gatherings and the extension of opening hours for social joints to midnight from 8pm.