Contact tracing for virus pandemic becoming difficult in Malawi – Official

Ministry of Health has said contact tracing has been challenge in containing the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

Thomas: Contact tracing was a problem pic by Tione Andsen (Mana)

Acting deputy director of Preventive Health Services for Heath Education Service, Mavuto Thomas told the media on Tuesday at Hillside Lodge in Mponela, Dowa during Covid-19 Media Interface meeting for central region.

He said some of the returning residents were providing wrong phone numbers which could not be connected and thereby compounding the spread of the virus.

“Some of the returnees were not honesty in providing real details and contact phone numbers. Some were even leaving their south African number as their contact numbers while in the country,” Thomas added.

He said the contact tracing format has changed as Health Personals are now demanding contact phone numbers and physical feature which is prominent to their area for easy tracing.

The Acting Director said local transmission has contributed to the raise in cases of Covid-19 in the country despite having imported cases.

Thomas said most point of entries in the country do not have quarantine facilities that could accommodate at least 1,000 people at once for self quarantine.

“We are advising both relative and returnees to continuous observed self quarantine and preventive measures to avoid further spread of the virus,” he pointed out

Acting Director noted that most point of entries do not have testing sites and this masking it difficult to have the returnees screened before entering the country.

“Most returnees are coming without Covid-19 negative certificates and we are making sure they are tested in order to ascertain their status. We are encouraging the returnees to contact their local health facilities to check for their results,” he said.

He disclosed tha the Ministry has procured four containers to be used as testing sites at Songwe border in Karonga, Mchinji border, Dedza border and Mbirima border in Chitipa.

He added that these borders were relying on district hospitals for screening services.

Epidemiology Officer for Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM), Daniel Mapemba said the country has registered 6,377 cases and 654 were health workers.

He said the country has recorded 188 deaths out of which 144 were men and 44 were women.

“For the two past weeks, the country has seen a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and admissions have steadily increased. We have noted that the average age of most people that have died stands at 56 years,” Mapemba explained.

Similar Media Interfaces were taking place in Northern and Southern regions.

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