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Covid-19 field hospitals take shape

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Gospel Kazako

Preparations to turn Blantyre Youth Centre, Zomba State House, Bingu National Stadium and another field hospital in Mzuzu into Covid-19 treatment centres are at an advanced stage, The Daily Times has learned.

In his address to the nation on Sunday, President Lazarus Chakwera directed that the country expands its Covid-19 treatment capacity by erecting field hospitals.

“My specific directive to the [Presidential] Taskforce [on Covid-19] in this regard is to scale up the number of treatment units from 400 to 1,500 over the next month. Among these should be a 300-bed capacity field hospital at Blantyre Youth Centre, another 300-bed capacity field hospital at Bingu National Stadium, a 200-bed capacity emergency treatment unit in Mzuzu, and 100- bed capacity field hospital in Zomba at the Zomba State House,” he said.

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Members of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 Wednesday visited the places in question to appreciate progress made.

Speaking after visiting Zomba State House, Information Minister Gospel Kazako said it was the wish of the government that Covid-19 patients would be getting all the support when sick.

“We split as [members of] the presidential taskforce to appreciate progress made as per President Chakwera’s directive. The President made it clear that there is no excuse and, from what we have seen, this directive will be met,” he said.

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Kazako then asked people who are testing positive for coronavirus not to lose hope, saying government officials stood ready to help them get the best care possible.

“You could be in isolation yes but you are not alone. You are with the President there. You are with government and your friends and family there. There are so many people who are getting better and this is what we want to see by expanding the treatment capacities in the country to the point of the President handing over his house to be turned into a hospital,” he said.

After visiting Zomba State House with Kazako, Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 co-Chair John Phuka visited Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Qech) and Blantyre Youth Centre, where the expansion works are underway.

Phuka said he was impressed with the work, further thanking non-governmental organisations such as Medicines Sans Frontier and such companies as Puma Energy for supporting the government’s efforts.

Phuka then asked Malawians to disregard cheap propaganda being spread on social media that hospitals are killing people with Covid-19.

He noted that, on Tuesday alone, Qech received nine brought-in dead bodies while only one person died of Covid-19 within the hospital premises.

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