LILONGWE (MalawiTalk) – President Dr Lazarous Chakwera on Sunday gave the nation upbeat news about increased numbers of people recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and that Malawi has made the choice of Covid-19 vaccine whose first consignment targeting 20 percent of the population is due end February for roll out in March.
In his weekly update 19 days since he declared a state of national disaster, President Chakwera said so far 1778 has so far escaped death from Covid-19 but still warned that while the number of new infections were receding, they were still too high.
Malawi is experiencing a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which in January alone has killed at least 500 people as the country first reported Covid-19 cases on April 2 2020.
Said Chakwera: “We thank God that over the course of this past week, 1788 Covid-19 patients have fully recovered.
“This is a reminder to all of us that the vast majority of those infected with the virus are recovering, so we must never give in to despair or hide a Covid infection from health officials.
Chakwera, who was flanked by Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Dr John Phuka and Malawi Institute of Engineers representative Dr Videlia Moyo, urged that the very suspected Covid-19 infection must be reported to health officials so that they can intervene early and save lives.
“The importance of saving lives cannot be overstated, for it is daily underscored by the numbers we continue to lose. This past week alone, we lost 161 people to Covid-19: fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandparents, uncles, aunties, in-laws, colleagues, and leaders, including our very own Mte Wambali Mkandawire this morning, who was not only a dear friend and devoted supporter of our cause of national transformation, but was Malawi’s greatest musical icon and champion of her cultural heritage.
“We join the bereaved families of all 161 people in mourning their passing, and we devote ourselves to honour their memory by complying with the measures for stopping this virus from spreading. May their souls rest in peace.,” said Chakwera.
President Chakwera announced a “significant breakthrough” in the countries laboratory capabilities, saying Malawi’s scientists at the Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust (MLW) lab at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre now have the capacity to sequence the virus that causes Covid-19.
“Additionally, we have partnered with the African and US Centres for Disease Control to bring the same capacity to the National Public Health lab in Lilongwe. Being able to sequence the virus will reduce our reliance on labs in South Africa for that service.
“As a demonstration of the significance of this viral sequencing capacity, it has been confirmed that the new strain of the virus from South Africa is indeed here in Malawi. This confirms that we were right to treat this new wave with the seriousness it demanded, and so we must stay the course in preventing it from spreading,” said Chakwera.
In his weekly update, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Dr John Phuka stated that most deaths being reported in the communities and in treatment units could be prevented if people seek medical care early enough.
“To ensure that the transmission is stopped, there is need for all of us to accept the results of the Covid-19 testing and adhere to advice from the health workers,” said Phuka.
He pointed out that there is denial by some sections of the society, saying this will only make the situation worse.
Said Phuka: “What everyone should know and accept is that we have Covid-19 – pandemic in our country, that is the second wave we are experiencing massive community transmission and that our response pillars are working hard to stop the spread.”
Meanwhile, the government has secured doses of the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine and the jabs will first be given to frontline workers, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions.