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How it all started

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By Yohane Simon

On 2 April 2020, Malawi fell to an invisible terror called Covid-19.  In the run-up to the day, as world news channels and social media platforms pumped out news about the devastation the virus was causing, it was a period of apprehension in Malawi.

The trouble began on 31 December 2019 in China when authorities there reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in the province of Wuhan. A novel coronavirus was eventually identified.

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On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the virus a pandemic.

By that time, 118,000 cases had been recorded in 114 countries and 4,291 people had died around the world.

The terror landed on African soil in February 2020 when Egypt became the first country on the continent to report a case. Slowly, the virus invaded more and more territories on the African soil.

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News about its deadliness spread like wildfire. Nations shut borders. Anxiety mounted. By the end of March 2020, it had invaded 49 countries in Africa. Now it was looking for its 50th individual. By that time only Lesotho, Comoros, South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe and Malawi remained free of the virus on the continent.

It was just a matter of time! And that came on April 2, 2020, when Malawi became its 50th victim. Three Malawians of Indian origin based in Lilongwe tested positive.

President Peter Mutharika made the announcement. The terror had finally arrived. And it was to stay longer than expected.

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