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Government sweats over Covid-19 surge

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The Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 Tuesday expressed worry over the supersonic speed at which Covid-19 cases are growing in the country.

Co-Chairperson of the taskforce Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said in Lilongwe, when she briefed reporters on what the authorities were doing to contain the spread of the virus, that the number of active cases had grown exponentially in recent weeks, from around 30 on December 11 to about 800 by yesterday.

This, she said, had left the government with no option but to reinstitute tough measures of preventing the spread of coronavirus.

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She further said the injunction which a group of musicians obtained against implementation of tough measures had been lifted, paving the way for the smooth implementation of the same.

Among other measures, Kandodo Chiponda said the government would enforce regulations on the number of people attending public gatherings, which stands at a maximum of 100.

She added that land borders would remain closed except for the importation of essential goods and returning Malawians, adding that the returning residents would be expected to produce a negative Covid-19 certificate on arrival.

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“We have decided to put all returning residents who do not have a Covid-19 certificate under institutional quarantine. This is to help manage the growing number of cases because some of them were running away while others were giving false information about their place of residence in Malawi. We will only release the returnees when we are satisfied that they are negative.

“We are in the process of identifying the place for the institutional quarantine. We are considering the Ntakataka Police Training School in Dedza because we want a safe and secure place. We are talking to the Ministry of Homeland Security on the matter and we should be able to come up with the final decision by tomorrow [today],” Chiponda said.

On his part, Co-chairperson John Phuka said, though there were reports of new strains of the pandemic in some countries including South Africa, there was no confirmed reports of the existence of the new strain in Malawi.

Phuka said Malawi was coordinating with other countries in the region on testing to establish whether the country had any traces of the new strain.

On Covid 19 vaccine, Phuka said it would take more than two years for the vaccine to reach the whole Malawi, adding that the best option for Malawi was to continue observing preventive measures.

“What I would say is that let us not bank our hopes on the vaccine. Let us continue observing the preventive measures of wearing masks, observing social distance and washing hands,” Phuka said

Meanwhile, the taskforce has announced that the number of those hospitalised has short from 33 on Monday to 55 Tuesday. It also announced 175 new Covid-19 cases and three new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 199.

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