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Covid-19 cases hit 10,000 mark

AT BATTLE FRONTLINE— Phuka (left), Nyalonje (centre) and Kazako

The Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 Thursday announced that the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in Malawi has reached 10,494, with 503 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 10 deaths recorded Thursday.

Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 co-Chairperson John Phuka, during Thursday’s briefing, said the country had 4,096 active cases of coronavirus while 134 cases had been lost to follow-up.

“We have 19,494 total confirmed cases, 5,903 recoveries and 10 new deaths. This means the total number of deaths is, as of today at 285,” he said.

However, what can probably ignite debate from last evening’s briefing is the revelation that Covid-19 is taking a toll on primary and secondary schools.

Education Minister Agnes Nyalonje indicated that students and teachers had not been spared from infections.

As of yesterday, 14 primary school teachers across the country has tested positive for the virus.

In her situational analysis, she said Lilongwe Girls Secondary School was one of the highly affected schools in the country, with 136 cases of coronavirus being registered—all those affected being students.

Before members of the taskforce announced latest developments, Chancellor College indicated that the institution had positive cases.

A statement which Registrar Mary Wasiri signed, dated January 14 2021, indicated that 35 people had tested positive, including 14 staff members and 18 students.

“In this regard we would like to inform you that the District Health Officer will disinfect the whole campus from Friday, 15th January 2021. May we all stay out of campus to pave [the] way for the disinfection exercise. Staff can access office facilities from Monday 18th January 2021,” the statement reads.

In a related development, The Daily Times has learned that Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe approved the indemnity agreement that could pave the way for Malawi to access Gavi-facilitated Covid-19 vaccine.

Minutes we have seen, from Secretary for Health Charles Mwansambo to Secretary to the Treasury, reads: “You may recall that Malawi applied for participation for Covax facility which is facilitating Covid-19 vaccine introduction target 20 percent of our population. We made this joint application between the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance on 7th December 2020 and I am pleased to inform you that we have been approved for participation…

“This loose minute therefore serves to request your approval and append your signature for indemnity agreement which is part of the facility delivery. Also be informed that the Attorney General approved the indemnity agreement and asked us to proceed and submit to the Gavi Covax secretariat.”

But, at Thursday-evening’s Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 briefing, without referring to the indemnity issue anywhere, Information Minister Gospel Kazako took a sweep at people that are spreading misinformation on Covid-19 vaccine.

He said such people were creating false alarms. ”Eleven primary and secondary education districts have registered positive cases. Fourteen teachers in primary schools have tested positive; four learners in public schools have tested positive; ten learners in private schools have tested positive; one Primarily Education Advisor has also been found positive. 15 teachers in secondary schools have tested positive; 19 staff in teachers training schools have tested positive…,”

“Eleven primary and secondary education districts have registered positive cases. Four learners in public schools have tested positive; ten learners in private schools have tested positive; one Primarily Education Advisor has also been found positive. 15 teachers in secondary schools have tested positive; 19 staff in teachers training schools have tested positive…,” Nyalonje said.

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