Malawi still unsure of new Covid-19 strain

It is still unclear whether or not the country might have the third Coronavirus wave following reports that results of the 600 samples sent to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in South Africa to determine the same are not yet known to Malawi, Nyasa Times has learnt.

The samples were sent to the Rainbow Nation—about a month ago—after some Indian nationalities working as expatriates at the Salima Sugar Factory had tested positive, posing fears of the third wave of Covid-19 being in the country.

Dr Charles Mwansambo

Unclear

According to Nyasa Times’ findings the results were expected to arrive in the country on May 27, but it was still hazy on when the results would be available.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed the results of the 600 samples not being in the country yet but was quick to say that they would be “available in the next few days.”

So far, Malawi has registered 34 304 cases of Covid-19 of which 32 575 cases have recovered. 1 154 deaths have so far been registered.

According to a health expert, George Jobe, there are fears that Malawi could register a massive record of cases should a third wave hit, saying the “reluctance of most people to go for the AstraZeneca vaccine is frightening.”

Extra AstraZeneca not yet in Malawi

Ironically, the Society of Medical Doctors (SMD) in the country has confessed that it is worried about the failure of 900 000 additional doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive in the country from the Covax facility.

Dr. Victor Mithi, president of the society, said it was “quite worrisome” that the package had not yet arrived in the country when, at the same time, the country was preparing itself to start administering the second dose of the vaccine from June 3.

Said Mithi: “I believe if there is a problem somewhere, it should be noted as soon as possible. Whether it is with the manufacturers or it is to do with us and transportation; either way this problem should be sorted.”

Malawi Safe

But commenting on the matter, much as admitting the delay in getting the 900 000 doses, Secretary of Health Dr Mwansambo said the country was “safe enough.”

According to Mwansambo, there were “some issues to do with the itinerary” but emphasized that the country had enough doses in stock.

However, as Nyasa Times reported earlier over 19 000 doses of the AstraZeneca were incinerated, something commentators said was as a result of people’s scepticism to go for the vaccine.

But Dr. Mwansambo insisted “there is enough stock which will only expire at the end of July.”

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