Karonga District to open coronavirus testing centre at Chilumba

Karonga  District director of health and social services David Sibale has said the district will soon have a coronavirus (Covid-19) testing laboratory at the Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit (MEIRU) at Chilumba.

Speaking  in an interview, Sibale said the site is almost ready and the laboratory will be functional this week.

Sibale said the establishment of the laboratory will among other things ease expenses the district hospital has been incurring in sending coronavirus specimens to Mzuzu Central Hospital.

He said Karonga being a border district with Tanzania needs a testing centre.

“As you may be aware that many Coronavirus cases registered in the country have been coming from Tanzania through Songwe Border Post and other uncharted routes, increasing the district’s risk of the disease.

“Having a testing laboratory would ease pressure as we will be able to test as many people as possible ,’ he said.

According to Sibale,  the laboratory will have the capacity  to process 72 specimens at once and release the results after one and half hours.

He said in the event  that some specimen come out positive and patients are asymptomatic they will be told to be on self-quarantine for 14 days.

Sibale further said all those who will develop symptoms like fever and shortness of breath will be admitted as well.

Speaking in a separate interview, Karonga District Red Cross Society Coordinator, Blessing Mlowoka said having a Covid-19 testing centre in Chilumba is a welcome development, but asked the government and other stakeholders to consider establishing a testing center at Songwe Border as well.

He said if a testing center is established at the border, more people will be tested before they process to other district of the country.

Once operational, the Chilumba laboratory will bring the number of of testing centres in the Northern Region to three after Mzuzu Central Hospital and Mzimba District Hospital.

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