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Covid hits Maula Prison

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MHANGO—Conduct a mass-testing
exercise

By Patience Lunda:

Maula Prison has registered 15 cases of Covid, up from seven, the Malawi Prison Service has said.

This is happening at a time a new coronavirus variant, which the World Health Organisation has identified as XBB 1.5, has been detected in South Africa, which is a member of the Southern African Development Community to which Malawi is a member.

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Apart from South Africa, the new variant is making rounds in China and 25 other countries in the world.

Malawi Prison Service spokesperson Chimwemwe Shaba said those that have tested positive for coronavirus are showing mild symptoms.

“We have, in fact, put them in isolation,” he said.

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Shaba said they are encouraging inmates to report suspected cases of Covid among them.

“For this and next week, we will continue to observe [the situation] and, should the cases continue to rise, we shall consider mass testing so as to know how many have contracted the virus,” he said.

Recently, Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus co-chairperson Wilfred Nkhoma said Malawi is ready to contain any outbreak of coronavirus.

He cited the putting in place of monitoring tools as one of the strategies Malawi has adopted.

Meanwhile, Malawi Health Equity Network Executive Director George Jobe has called on Malawians not to relax in following Covid preventative measures.

He said the Covid threat has not dissipated, such that everyone has to play their role in keeping coronavirus at bay.

Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance Executive Director Victor Mhango concurred, adding that there is a need to organise a mass-testing exercise as the number of cases might be higher than detected.

Mhango further said a lasting solution to preventing Covid infections is by decongesting all prisons in the country.

“A true picture of all cases at the prison will be seen if they conduct a mass-testing exercise because there might be other inmates who might not be showing symptoms and may be spreading the virus to other inmates unknowingly,” he said.

In another development, Shaba said 17 people who tested positive for cholera at Blantyre Prison, commonly known as Chichiri, have been discharged.

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