Health officials in Lilongwe have been following up 60 people – including students at Bishop Mackenzie International High School – over suspicion of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Lilongwe District Health Office (DHO) Alinafe Mbewe-Tambala said they have traced 60 people who are believed to have had contact with the first patient of Covid-19.
“So far we have traced 60 people in connection to the first case,” Tambala said.
“They are all under 14 day’s surveillance and the tracing is ongoing,” she added.
Tambala said they have also been tracing students at Bishop Mackenzie International High School because that’s where the first case’s grandson learns.
She appealed to people to strictly follow the general warnings to prevent the spread of the disease.
Oxfam’s international head of inequality policy, Max Lawson, a former resident of Malawi who is now based in Nairobi observed that Malawi has plenty of experience of handling contagious diseases but is barely prepared for a disease that can spread so fast.
He fears Covid-19 will spread rapidly across the country and many people will die.
“The health system is very weak and poorly resourced. The population is young, which may be in Malawi’s favour with a disease like Covid-19, but there is a lot of untested TB and HIV in the country.
“The UK government and other donors have not been supporting Malawi like they used to. They should immediately suspend the country’s debt payments. It would cost very little and help a lot. As it is, Malawi will be hit very badly economically by Covid-19,” he said.
Joyce Banda, the former Malawi president, accused the government of hiding the real figures.
“The global community cannot assist us when we are hiding our statistics and our challenges to fight the pandemic,” she said.
Mutharika declared a state of disaster on March 23 to combat the virus. There is no lockdown but schools are closed and the government says it is urging people to work from home and follow hand-washing and social-distancing guidelines.
All social gatherings of more than 100 people, such as funerals, church services and political rallies, have been banned.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :