Malawi suspends visas to China, 62 monitored on Coronavirus

Following the outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in China, Malawi has suspended Visas in China for those coming to the country  as a precautionary measure to avoid the importation of the same.

Dr Charles Mwansambo: Visas will resume until that time it will be deemed necessary

Ministry of Health Chief of Health Servises Dr Charles Mwansambo told journalists in Lilongwe on Friday that the issuance of the Visas will resume until that time it will be deemed necessary.

So far, Mwansambo said 62 people are in self quarantine and being followed up after they travelled into the country from China.

Out of these 62 people,  52 are based in the commercial city Blantyre while 10 are from the capital City, Lilongwe.

“These people have no signs of Coronavirus but we are just following up on them because they travelled from China,” he said.

Currently, Malawi rely on Republic of South Africa for testing Coronavirus but Mwansambo said “very soon we will have the capacity to test” those deemed to have signs of the disease.

So far, he said Malawi has been convening Health Cluster meetings regularly to discuss on how to respond to the Coronavirus disease situation, developed a Coronavirus Disease action plan and communication materials on Coronavirus disease have been developed and placed at airports and health facilities with funding from UNICEF.

“Meetings on coronavirus disease preparedness between my Ministry and Civil Aviation have been done, leading to passengers, especially those from Coronavirus disease affected countries, being screened, being followed up, those from high risk areas being quarantined and several Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on Coronavirus Disease Management have been developed,” said Mwansambo.

He assured citizens that in the unlikely event that Coronavirus disease is detected in the country, Malawi is ready to manage the situation.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in Malawi has intensified its efforts to combat the deadly coronavirus by setting up a response team with the Chinese Community and the Association of Chinese Companies in Malawi in a move to ensure that the virus does not cross over to Malawi through cross-border traders or other any means.

The embassy has also set up a working mechanism with the Ministry of Health and Population of Malawi, which has seen the Governments of China and Malawi keeping daily contact with airport authorities, immigration offices and quarantine teams at the Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) and Chileka International Airport.

The Chinese Ambassador to Malawi,  Liu Hongyang, says the Chinese community and the Association of Chinese Companies in Malawi are overseeing the quarantine in collaboration with quarantine teams of the Ministry of Health and Population of Malawi.

Hongyang made the remarks in Lilongwe on Thursday during a press briefing organized to brief journalists on the steps his embassy has taken to prevent and control the epidemic in collaboration with the Malawi government.

“The embassy and I tweet everyday to update Malawian public on the latest situation with regard to COVID-19 in China. Hope all of you are following my twitter. The embassy is also keeping in touch with Malawian students in China when there is a need,” he said.

The envoy further disclosed that his embassy is in close contacts with the Ethiopian Airlines representative residing in Lilongwe to get a list of all passengers coming from China daily, if there are any.

“I want to stress here that all passengers from China include Chinese nationals and foreign nationals as well. In order to have an absolute safety and a COVID-19 free Malawi, I would suggest that all passengers from countries with COVID-19 cases be screened at ports of entry. With regard to the Chinese nationals arriving in Malawi, the embassy has taken the following measures.

“Every arriving Chinese national must report and register at quarantine and immigration desks at KIA and Chileka airports and have their temperatures taken at quarantine desk at the airports,” he explained.

He said the request to all passengers from China during this time is to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days though the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 10 days quarantine time.

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