Amidst a threat of the fourth wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the Malawi Government has introduced new and additional measures for containing the virus.
South Africa has reportedly registered a new and even deadliest Covid variant and authorities at the Capital Hill fear the novel variant may find its way into Malawi through global trade and travel.
In view of this, the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus has resolved to tighten some of the preventive measures in line with the level of the epidemic at which we are.
The Minister of Health and Population, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, in a statement released on Sunday, says, among others, that in addition to a negative PCR based Covid-19 Certificate that is no older than 72 hours at time of arrival, all arriving travellers of all nationalities, including Malawians, will be expected to show a valid electronic Covid-19 full vaccination certificate at point of entry.
Chiponda says arriving travellers that are not able to show an electronic certificate at point of entry, shall be expected to access Covid-19 vaccine that will be available for free at the point of entry before being processed to enter / re-enter the country, as a preventive measure.
“While the current Covid-19 vaccines are famous for their ability to protect against severe disease and death from Covid-19, they are also known to be fairly effective in preventing the propagation of infection and mutation across communities by reducing prevalent levels of the virus.
“Travellers that are not able to produce a valid electronic COVID-19 certificate, and refuse to access COVID-19 vaccine offered at point of entry, will be required to undergo institutional quarantine for symptoms monitoring for 10 days at their cost,” in part the press release reads.
The minister further directs that, with immediate effect, Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa District should be managed technically as a Point of Entry for purposes of Covid-19 control.
In this respect, all new arrivals to Dzaleka Refugee Camp should be laboratory tested for COVID-19 on arrival irrespective of the status of their symptoms, and all will continue to be kept in the existing quarantine bay for 14 days before being released to the main camp area, as is currently the practice.
“Those that test positive will continue to be managed as per national protocols and district health system institutional isolation arrangements. Those without a valid negative PCR based COVID-19 test Certificate will be subjected to a Rapid Antigen Test on site at the Point of Entry before proceeding through immigration services, without exception, and at their cost.
“Those that turn out positive on the Rapid Antigen Test will have a PCR test processed, also at their cost and they will be conveyed to the District Health System where they are proceeding, where they will be managed according to standard national protocols,” goes the press release.
The government has further extended Covid-19 vaccination eligibility for use of Pfeizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to cover all those aged 12 years and above.
“But let me stress, this extension is only for PfeizerBioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine for the time being, until further expert advice is available and announced regarding other vaccines,” says Chiponda.
The government has since called upon relevant government ministries and department responsible for the areas concerned in implementing the new and additional matures to facilitate with minimum delay the operationalization of the new measures accordingly.
On the other hand, the taskforce says it will continue monitoring the situation of the pandemic in the country, and the evolving broader global and regional trends, and make necessary further recommendations to contain the pandemic in the country as the situations will demand.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :