Malawi risks human tragedy: Cabinet committee on Covid-19 could do better

It was obvious that Malawi would not escape the spread of coronavirus when neighbouring and other African countries were getting infected. It was a matter of time. When President Peter Mutharika appointed a cabinet committee on Covid-19 to deal with the impending pandemic, many expected that the committee would engage in high gear and come up with a package of measures to prepare for the disease. But nothing of that sort happened.

Some members of of the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 .-photo by Lisa Kadango

Perhaps the committee was too comfortable with the fact no single case of covid-19 was registered in the country. Even when President Mutharika announced the closure of education institutions on 19 March the country was far from being prepared.

It is only the last week that the committee has been seen doing some frantic work after the country initially recorded three covid-19 cases, ( we are now at nine), among of whom died. Now that we know that the virus is here, many people are panicking because they do not know who has it. This fear is justified. There are only three testing centres, set up late as expected, and confined to the cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu).

The committee should move with speed and set up more centres in other parts of the country such as Chitipa, Karonga, Mzimba, Mchinji, Dedza, Ntcheu, Mwanza, Nsanje, Mangochi, Phalombe etc. Certainly, three centres are far inadequate to serve a large population. Why has the committee delayed to do this? It had all the time to prepare.

The biggest disappointment has been government’s failure to impose mandatory quarantine for all people entering the country [whether foreigners or Malawians] from countries that have the coronavirus. The option of self-quarantine does not work because it’s not guarantee that people will stay at home. Such an arrangement requires to put in place a monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance. But is not possible to monitor thousands of people scattered throughout the country.

Since everyone is aware that Covid-19 is an imported disease, government should have serious by quarantining everyone entering the country to nip the virus in the bud.  Several places in all the regions should have been identified where people should be quarantined and observed for 14 days if they are virus free. While it is appreciated that this was going to be expensive, it was worth doing it. Now government is running around looking for people who entered the country in March and April so that they are tested for the virus. Really? Where are you going to find them?

We are told that as many as 3000 people entered the country through uncharted routes. Who counted these people? And who saw them? The truth of the matter is that these people came by air from China, India, UK, USA, South Africa etc and some of them by bus from Zimbabwe and South Africa. Government failed to do its work. These people are now a threat to their families, friends and those they come into contact with. No one is safe. Although a number of measures have been put in place to stem the killer virus, it is still a challenge for the rural dwellers and those living in informal settlements.

It is equally surprising that our borders were still open as recent as 9 April to passenger transport. This shows lack of seriousness.

What next? More testing centres should be opened up for people to know their status. And the cabinet committee should desist from issuing conflicting messages and should make decisions within the law.

One can only hope that everyone will follow health tips churned out in various media outlets and platforms. And pray that God protect us. President Mutharika should also inform the nation when the state of disaster will come to an end.

He should not keep the country in the dark. We need a time frame like what other countries have done.

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Bob Finye
Bob Finye
10 months ago

Fact: Chakwera’s COVID19 donations have only been in Lilongwe District health facilities. Lilongwe is his home district. But he wants to be a national leader. What a dangerous tribalist and regionalist he is

Mtondowodoka
10 months ago
Reply to  Bob Finye

That man will never be MAlawi president. Mark my words, maybe Chilima

kaukonde
kaukonde
10 months ago

What more did you expect the committee to do. When the president declared a state of disaster, we saw this ugly woman called Dorothy Ngoma say that it was not necessary and the stupid Chakwera claiming that the president wanted a scapegoat to cancel the elections. Now the pandemic has hit Malawi people want to blame the same government for doing nothing. Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda allowed importation of the virus when he allowed the chinese to go. all cases in Malawi have been imported.

john phiri
john phiri
10 months ago

the Government should put strict measure and precise ways of testing people enmass. put temporary testing roadblocks to all roads in and out of major cities and capture data of each and every person tested. clossed markets like mpanipani every person entering to be tested by the gate same to limbe market and others. by doing so the government will have atleast some data on the intensity of the covid 19 .our porous boarders to be protected with uncorruptable officers. by doing so and other precaussionery measure in place the government will have a way forward of handling the pendamic… Read more »

APM Akuthanyulidwa
APM Akuthanyulidwa
10 months ago

Ku Lilongwe Golf Club they are drinking at the bar after Brigadier General Soko threatened the Lilongwe CEO. Let them all catch COVID. I don’t give a shit. The cabinet committee on COVID is busy chewing COVID money instead of putting in place prevention measures. Let them all die from COVID. And may the devil Fuck them in the ass in hell. I only care about health workers and the innocent victims. Enanu oziyamba dalanu I’ll piss on your grave and laugh at you having died from COVID.

APM Akuthanyulidwa
APM Akuthanyulidwa
10 months ago

Kufa kulipo basi! Tiyeni nazoni. I only feel bad for health practitioners and innocent victims. Enanu amene simumamvera akakuuzani kuti stay home, wash hands and practise social distancing you can go Fuck yourselves. Olo ikukantheni ndilibe nazo ntchito.

Na bi soo
Na bi soo
10 months ago

What do u expect from incompetent DPP ministers and so called committee? Malawi is not serious at all, if u have people in positions who are clueless on national matters, appointing them just because they are party members, amadziwa kutukwana ndikumadzitama kuti ali ndi ufiti disaster is imminent…….!

Concerned citizen
10 months ago

It is very distressing to note that we have lost a second person to the desese, yet I do not feel we are taking the situation seriously.

Who is the technical person in charge, and are they competent enough to take the required bold steps?

ACT BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

EVERY LIFE IS ONE TO MANY.

Yoyo
Yoyo
10 months ago

Can the write try and compare Malawi’s numbers of Covid-19 cases to that of USA where over 2000 people have died in one day. The USA has now had almost 20, 000 people dead. The increasing trend is similar in Europe. Malawi is no where near that.

Shatta
Shatta
10 months ago
Reply to  Yoyo

So? This type of reasoning / thinking is what has made Malawi where it is now.

Charles
Charles
10 months ago
Reply to  Yoyo

You are really stupid

Ikbal osman
Ikbal osman
10 months ago
Reply to  Yoyo

In Malawi we like doing everything when the damage has already been done. South Africa started with 10 cases and now it’s reached over 1000 infected cases.we are now where the rest of the world were 6 weeks ago.

Mandado@147
10 months ago
Reply to  Yoyo

You an asshole each country starts with a single case then turns into massive infections depending on so many factors. Malawi is not immune to not having 20K dealth only takes one undetected case in the village and the ignorance and poverty is such set up you think it wouldn’t spread like the USA, Italy RSA with these thieves covids task team,and business as usual citizens you think it wouldn’t reach 20k if we not care? Research on cross contamination you idiot and see how the majority of people getting infected with masks and gloves on!!

Banda
Banda
10 months ago

Fuc* off Lowanit Mtonga. What did you say when Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda released people who had entered Malawi and had been put in quarantine by the Immigration Department? Judge Kenytta’s ruling undermined government’s efforts to stop people coming into our country infecting us. You the journalists are as corrupt and stupid as judge Kenyatta.

Mandado@147
10 months ago
Reply to  Banda

More like your sleepy MPs and President undermined your ignorance as usual…(wake up then dumb head wakie wakie).. does the Judge make laws or amend 1984 laws? He did his job according to his office rules and regulations…blame the MPs Minister of justice. while the world is running on Windows 10 they still running on windows 95 KKKK format Dpp install latest window MCPUTM alliance like the rest of the world and enjoy the change KKKKK

Concerned citizen
10 months ago

Limbe today was business as usual, it was packed.

Our leaders, at the rate we are going, we will be the worst affected country in the world.

Leaders, your role it to lead, and it is at times like now that you have to act decisively.

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