Malawi ready for coronavirus, says Minister of Health: Preparedness plan developed

Minister of Health and Population Jappie Mhango has said his ministry is “doing everything possible” to ensure that killer coronavirus does not get “imported” in Malawi after its outbreak in China.

Minister of Health Mhango: In the event that coronavirus is detected, my ministry is ready to manage the situation

Given the travels to and from China that are on the rise, there is fear that coronavirus case can be diagnosed in the country.

“No case of coronavirus has so far been detected in Malawi. In the event that it is detected, my ministry is ready to manage the situation,” he said.

Minister Mhango advised citizens to avoid travelling to China and other countries affected by the coronavirus but has said it not will apply any travel or trade restrictions because of the outbreak.

“However, my advice to Malawians is to avoid none essential travel to countries severely affected by the outbreak, at the moment,” he said.

Mhango said there is clear mechanism on preparedness when he mentioned weekly health cluster meetings to discuss on how to prepare and respond to the Coronavirus outbreak.

He said a preparedness plan has been developed, messages are being developed and the ministry is working with the Chinese Embassy in Malawi to advise Chinese nationals in China not to travel to Malawi until the outbreak is controlled.

“We are screening for Coronavirus in all travellers arriving in Malawi through our International Airports.

“We are following up for 14 days all travellers from China into Malawi,” he said.

According to Mhango, the Ministry has also put in place a mechanism for laboratory confirmation of the Coronavirus in patients who may be suspected of the infection.

He said 15 laboratories in the world have been identified by WHO to provide testing for Coronavirus and only 2 are in Africa – in Senegal and in South Africa.

The Minister further said that ministry is ensuring that the country’s hospitals have the capacity to manage patients suspected of Coronavirus through training of health workers and provision of drugs and supplies.

The novel coronavirus was first reported in China last year and its symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty in breathing.

At present, no specific treatment nor vaccine for Coronavirus is available and hospitals support patients by relieving the symptoms while their bodies fight the infection.

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