CoVID-19 pandemic in Malawi; 38.0% decrease in cases in past week

During the last weekly reporting period, there was a 38.0% decrease in the number of new CoVID-19 cases compared to Epi-week 15 since January — with Blantyre reporting at least half of the cases followed by Lilongwe which reported 13 cases.

In its Sunday, April 25 Epi-week 16 report, Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM), this trend “is coupled with a decline in the positivity rate, hospital admissions, and a slight increase in new deaths — reflecting a general downward trend of the pandemic in the country”.

Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda -pic by Lisa Kadango

Highlights

• A total of 62 new cases were reported from 19 to 25 April 2021 (Epi- week 16), with more than half (32/62, [51.6.0%]) of the cases reported in Blantyre followed by Lilongwe which reported 21% (13/62) of the cases.

• The new cases reported in the past week represent a 38.0% decrease in the number of new cases compared to Epi-week 15. Cumulatively, 34,026* cases have been reported.

• In the past week, 147 recoveries were registered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 31,921 representing a recovery rate of 93.8%.

• A total of 3,031 samples were tested for CoVID-19 in the past week (Epi-week 16). Cumulatively 230,744* tests have been conducted in the country. The positivity rate for the past week was 2.1%, a decrease from 3.0% in the previous week.

• In the past week, there were 10 newly hospitalised cases, representing a 28.6% decrease compared to Epi week 15. Cumulatively 2,241 cases have been admitted since the first cases were registered on 2 April 2020.

• Eight new CoVID-19 deaths were reported since the last report, a slight increase from seven deaths in week 15. Cumulatively, 1,147 deaths have been reported, and the overall case-fatality ratio is 3.4% (1,147/34,026).

• A total of 19,335 vaccine doses were administered in the past week, bringing the total vaccines administered to 277,442 since the official launch on March 11, 2021.

PHIM adds that in response to the surge of cases in South-Eastern Asian countries; non-essential travel to and from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, have been banned.

“Those traveling on essential business will be required to have a negative PCR-based CoVID-19 test result or certificate for a test conducted no more than 72 hours before arrival in Malawi and will undergo mandatory institutional quarantine at designated hotel accommodation at their own cost on arrival into the country. The same restriction is also extended to Brazil.

Hospitalizations and deaths

In Epi-week 16, a total of 10 CoVID-19 cases were newly hospitalized representing a 28.6% decrease compared to week 15 (Figure 6). A total of 2,241 cases have been admitted since 2 April 2020, when the first cases were registered in the country. During the past week, 8 new CoVID-19 deaths were reported which brings the total number of deaths to 1,147 (Figure 6). Figure 7 presents the age and sex distribution of the CoVID-19 deaths in Malawi whose median age is 60 years and 67.7% are male.

CoVID-19 vaccine update

• 277,442 doses have been administered to date, with 3,607 been given as of the past 24 hours of Tuesday.

• Vaccination is now open to all the eligible above the age of 18 years

• Community engagement and demand creation activities have been enhanced in all districts

• Another consignment of vaccines is expected towards the end of May

• Weekly meetings of the CoVID-19 vaccine National Task Force

CoVID-19 death

CoVID-19 death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness in a probable or confirmed CoVID-19 case unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to CoVID disease (e.g. trauma). There should be no period of complete recovery between illness and death.

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