By Emmanuel Simpokolwe
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda Wednesday ordered mass testing and mandatory two-week quarantine for all Indians working at Salima Sugar Factory in the lakeshore district.
Chiponda and other officials from her ministry toured the factory Wednesday in the wake of reports that some people who recently arrived from India had tested positive for the coronavirus which could be a virulent double mutant detected in the Asian country.
At the factory, Chiponda learnt that about 40 people from India had arrived in the country in four batches last week through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe with negative Covid certificates.
It further transpired that a laboratory technician at the factory, Jonathan Matipwili, had conducted tests on those people with 16 of them coming out positive for the virus.
Chiponda has since ordered health officials in the district to monitor and ensure those who tested positive are adhering to laid down regulations.
“If the factory fails to adhere to health personnel’s advice, we will be forced to take them to Lilongwe for quarantine at their own cost,” she warned.
She further disclosed that tests will be conducted on all the 60 Indians working at the factory and that samples will be sent to South Africa for detection of the type of variant.
“We need to know what we are dealing with. We must make sure we conduct aggressive contact tracing so that people are protected from any new variant,” Chiponda said.
Salima Sugar Company General Manager, Tulak Thapa, said all what the minister had said will be done and that those who had tested positive for Covid had already been put in isolation.
The company has about 4,500 workers.