Malawi now Covid-19 high risk country

Malawi is currently pegged at Level 4 – very high risk – as far as Covid-19 levels are concerned and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention has since warned people across the world to avoid travelling to the south-east African country.

CDC announcement comes heads-on-heels of new Covid-19 measures effective Friday that were announced by health minister, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, who is also co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19.

Minister of Health Chiponda appeals for vigilance

“Because of the current situation in Malawi, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants,” CDC warns.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 37,983 cases including 1,227 deaths (Case Fatality Rate is at 3.23%). Of these cases, 2,479 are imported infections and 35,504 are locally transmitted. Cumulatively, 33,681 cases have now recovered (recovery rate of 88.7%) and 232 were lost to follow-up, according to the update.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has added Malawi and Senegal to African countries that are currently experiencing a resurgence of the Covid pandemic, as Africa marked its worst pandemic week ever.

Malawi and Senegal are among 16 African countries that are now in resurgence, 10 of which have recorded the Delta variant which ravaged India and put its healthcare service delivery sector in crisis earlier this year.

Latest Presidential Taskforce on Covid figures indicate that Malawi has, cumulatively, recorded 37,983 cases, 427 of which are new.

The country has also registered a cumulative 1, 227 cases, nine of which are from the new wave.

A total of 385, 242 people in Malawi received the first dose while 43,165 have received the second jab of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The current upsurge comes while vaccination rates remain low in Africa.

But, speaking during a virtual press conference facilitated by APO Group yesterday, WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said she was seeing hopeful signs.

Moeti was joined during the press conference by Office of the Covax Facility Managing Director Aurélia Nguyen, among other experts.

“The end to this quick rise is still weeks away. Cases are doubling now every 18 days, compared with every 21 days only a week ago, but we can still break the chain of transmission by testing, isolating contacts and cases and following key public health measures,” Moeti said.

During the week ending July 4, more than 251,000 new Covid cases were recorded in Africa, amounting to a 20 percent increase over the previous week.

Reports also indicate that more than 1.6 million doses were delivered to Africa through the Covax facility in the past two weeks.

More than 20 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine and Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine doses are also expected to arrive on the continent through the Covax facility.

Recently, the Malawi government announced the reintroduction of stringent Covid restrictions.

Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said the measures, which started on Friday, have been necessitated by a sharp rise in cases and deaths since June 1 this year.

Among other things, the country will see the introduction of a curfew from 10pm to 6am as well as a ban on political rallies.

Meanwhile, health rights advocate Maziko Matemba has said he is not surprised that Malawi is experiencing a resurgence of the pandemic.

“We have not done a good job in civic educating the masses on Covid vaccines, a development which saw Malawi destroying over 19,000 Covid doses.

“Apart from that, we have only managed to administer the vaccine to about one percent of the population, which is not very good as compared to how other countries are doing. As such, we, as a country, should do more,” Matemba told the Daily Times Thursday.

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