The exponential rise in coronavirus infections and Covid-19 accelerated deaths in Malawi is worrying. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other reputable health institutions report that already nearly 15.2 million people (and counting) are infected with the coronavirus while over 500 thousand have succumbed to Covid-19. The good news in these bad times is that worldwide approximately 8.7 million have been confirmed to have recovered.
In Malawi, the coronavirus infection records from the Ministry of Health reports that over 3 000 people have tested positive out of24 822 tests conducted while 76 Covid-19 patients have died nationwide with the cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu as epicenters. About 1 282 Covid-19 patients have recovered.
Recently, the Ministry of Health was quoted by the mainstream media as saying that the statistics in the public corrected; not doctored as some people social media posts have alleged.
There is hope that soon (by December 2020), an anti-coronavirus vaccine may be ready. However, the WHO warns that until such a time, the world needs to adhere to coronavirus preventive measures comprising washing hands with soap (why not the face, which is the entry point of the virus?); observing physical distancing of at least two metres apart and avoiding crowds; keeping social distancing by avoiding such imported behaviours as handshakes, hugs, and kisses; self-isolation (staying in uninfected home); wearing facemasks, and quarantining Covid-19 patients.
Health scientists and researchers argue that a combination of these practices should drastically drop the coronavirus infection in any society. In countries where no lockdown has been effected, such as Japan, the infection is reportedly very low because nearly everyone wears a mask in public.
Evidence is there for all that the coronavirus is globalising because of the unfettered movement of people. The more remote and less visited a place is, the less the infection intensity. The isolated island nations have the least infections. Even in Malawi, remote and secluded places like Likoma (2 cases) and Phalombe (6 cases) have less infections than open places where people interact with the external world undeterred.
Had we not allowed the importation of coronavirus from Tanzania and, mostly, from South Africa by bringing in Malawians who had Covid-19, Malawi’s Covid-19 situation would have been far much better.
Presidents, prime ministers, and royals have the least chances of catching the coronavirus because they are already isolated and quarantined in state houses and palaces.
Prisons are like state houses and royal palaces with prisoners as presidents, prime ministers and royals. Unless a disease emerges right there, prisoners, like presidents, premiers and royals, should be safe from diseases ravaging the outside world. Unless a disease is imported, like Malawi imported Covid-19 from South Africa and Tanzania, the prison community should be safe.
The most recent Ministry of Health official covid-19 report indicates that three prison officers and ten prisoners at Nkhata Bay Prison tested positive for coronavirus. Social media reports, if you should believe them, say some (over 100) prisoners at Chichiri prison have also tested positive for coronavirus.
How did the prisoners get infected? Coronavirus infection is only through human beings. Which human beings took it to the prisoners? Surely, if self-isolating people like president Lazarus Chakwera and presidents-emeritus Peter Mutharika, Bakili Muluzi, and Joyce Banda get infected, we should be able to trace their contacts and virus-importers easily.