Ministry of Health (MoH) says it is on high alert and taking preventive measures against the highly contagious outbreak of a pneumonia-like virus in China called Corona Virus which is dangerously spreading and has already killed at least two dozen people with hundreds affected.
Although no cases of the deadly virus, which emerged in Wuhan, China, had yet been reported in Malawi, ministry of health officials were taking no chances as the country has a booming Chinese population and China is Africa’s top trading partner.
MoH Principal Secretary Dr. Dan Namarika said the ministry is aware of the outbreak and that it will do all it can to prevent it from spreading into the country.
Namarika said there will be ‘highest level of vigilance and necessary preventive measures’ amid the outbreak.
He said visitors from China will be subjected to thorough screening for the mysterious Coronavirus upon arrival in Malawi. At other major international airports full-body screenings and temperature checks are being carried out.
Namarika said Malawi will take drastic measures to prevent Coronavirus spread.
He however said Malawians are advised to “remain calm.’’
Malawians are urged to avoid nonessential travel to China -the epicentre of the deadly outbreak.
The World Health Organization has not classed the virus as an “international emergency”, partly because of the low number of overseas cases.
“It may yet become one,” said the WHO’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The contagious virus, which has reportedly already reached southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Far East and North America, has striking similarities to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) which killed hundreds of people in China during an outbreak in 2002 and 2003.