Public enemy coronavirus could kill about 50 000 in Malawi and the killer virus could potentially infect 85 percent of the country’s population currently at 17.5 million if Covid-19 were to hit the country for a year, Minister of Health and Population Jappie Mhango has said.
The minister offered a grim prediction on Monday when he fronted the news conference in Lilongwe to update the nation of Covid-19 as chairperson of the Special Cabinet Committee of the virus pandemic.
He announced the country has recorded a fifth case of Covid-19 – a respiratory illness especially dangerous to older people and those with health problems.
Mhango said despite low statics of recorded cases of Covid-19, the trajectory of the pandemic will change – and dramatically for the worse – if people ease up on social distancing or relax with other precautions.
“If the disease was to hit the country for a year, 85 percent of people will be infected with Lilongwe being the hardest hit,” said Mhango.
“Over 85 percent or 16 million people will become infected over one year,” said the Minister of Health.
He said of those infected, “it is anticipated that 483 000 people will be hospitalised and 85 000 people will be in critical condition in need of critical care and up to 50 000 people could die directly from Covid-19.”
However, World Health Organisation bosses urged against “throwing around figures that there is no basis for”.
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the epidemic poses a “very grave threat” to the entire globe.
He said: “To be honest, a virus is more powerful in creating political, economic and social upheaval than any terrorist attack.
“A virus can have more powerful consequences than any terrorist action.
“If the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider this enemy virus as Public Enemy number 1, I don’t think we will learn from our lessons.”
There are growing fears that the pandemic will cause major challenges for Malawi’s under-resourced health services.
President Peter Mutharika has not ruled out imposing a lockdown to confine all but essential workers to their homes.
Mutharika declared a state of disaster on March 23 to combat the virus. 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.
Mutharika said government will continue monitoring and review situation as it unfolds warning that “more comprehensive measures may be imposed.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :