Coronavirus tests at Songwe Border

Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda has directed health officials in Karonga District to start this week testing anyone displaying symptoms of Covid-19 at Songwe Border.

Chiponda speaks with a health worker at Songwe Border
A MRCS volunteer doing screening at the border. Photos by Laureen Banda, Mana

She made the directive on Friday on a tour to appreciate efforts made at the Songwe Border to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The minister observed that the country has registered many imported Covid-19 cases as travellers pass through borders and uncharted routes.

Said Chiponde: “We are in a crisis as a country. The pandemic has hit us hard, and each day we are losing many people to Covid-19. We need to move from just screening  and start testing right away. Screening and taking body temperature is not enough.”

The minister said the country has enough test kits now.

Last week, government received 38 000 new test kits after the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 earlier announced that only those that were sick would be tested due to a shortage of the test kits.

The ministry said more test kits would arrive soon.

Karonga District Hospital director of health and social services David Sibale welcomed the idea, saying they have been failing to conduct tests at the border due to inadequate resources.

He said government has since promised to provide test kits and a mobile testing room to facilitate testing at the border.

Since Malawi registered its first three Covid-19 cases in April this year, travellers have only been screened for body temperature on border entry points.

As of Saturday, Malawi had registered 3557 confirmed cases and 94 deaths, with 1585 recoveries.


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