By Tione Andsen
Lilongwe, October 22, Mana: Malawians have warned to be very cautious in observing Covid-19 preventive measures to avoid falling into second wave of the pandemic.
Dean of Public Health and Family Medicine and Co-Chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Dr John Phuka made the warning when he delivered a key note address during the launch of a two day College of Medicine (COM) Covid-19 Research Dissemination Virtual Conference whose theme was “A multi-disciplinary response to Covid-19 pandemic” at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
He said the country has seen decrease in Covid-19 cases and deaths; this should not be view that the pandemic was not still active among us.
Phuka noted that some people are no longer taking Covid-19 preventive measures seriously to the point that they have stopped to wear face masks in public places and washing hands when entering super markets.
“We have witnessed a drop in cases and deaths as compares to the situation in July where the country had received Malawians who were based in South Africa. We are still receiving them but we have put in place measures to ensure that they get tested before being allowed into the country,” he explained.
The Co-Chair said some countries that were on rock down are now facing new wave of the pandemic citing Mozambique and Botswana that their situation was not encouraging after lifting it.
He said the two countries are now recording high number of new cases which threatens their public health systems.
“We were not on rock down but our airports and borders were closed but now we have opened them. We need to trade carefully with the developments because we might be experiencing a new wave of the pandemic if we continue to ignore the prescribed Covid-19 measures that were given,” Phuka said.
He said the country took a stand that only those that are showing signs of the disease should be tested and some have viewed that could be the case of low numbers.
The Co-Chair said management of returnees has improved and number of people found positive was almost getting to zero.
The Minister of Health, Khumbize Chiponda said as of October 21, 2020, the country has recorded 5,864 confirmed cases, 183 deaths and 4,762 recoveries.
“I believe having over 4,000 recoveries is not a joke and we owe this to interventions of the Lord Almighty and the health workers who risked their lives to save others. I would like to thank all health workers, nurses, doctors, not just in the country but throughout the World who have struggled and assisted multitudes of people in the fight against Corona virus.” Chiponda added
She reminded that public that Copvid-19 was real and the fight against it was not over yet.
The Minister said the risk remains high and the long road to travel hence urging everyone to continue practicing the safety measures as advised by the Ministry and other institutions.
Principal for College of Medicine (COM) Mwapatsa Mipando said apart from doing research and training doctors, the College has a testing laboratory for Covid- 19 and was the first to carry a test in the country.
He said another innovation the College has done was to develop a hand sanitizer which was now on the market in Pharmacies
World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 38.4 million confirmed cases and over 1 million people have dead for the past 11 months.