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‘Malawi has no coronavirus suspect’

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ADDRESSED THE
MEETING—Chauma
Mwale

The Ministry of Health and Population has said Malawi has not registered any suspected case of coronavirus despite reported spike in cases in Europe and Asia.

The coronavirus was initially tracked to a seafood market in Hubei province in China.

Head of Epidemiology and Surveillance at Public Health Institute in the ministry, Dr Annie Chauma Mwale, Tuesday told the media in Blantyre that there are currently no suspected cases of the disease in the country as it has been reported in other quarters.

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She, however, said the ministry has only put people who visited the risky countries on self-quarantine for monitoring.

“We put medical checks on those with a travel history to an affected area in the past 14 days. We check symptoms and other signs but that does not mean they are suspected cases,” she said.

Mwale said after examining them on point of entry, they are required to be on self-quarantine for 14 days as recommended by World Health Organisation, which is an incubation period of the virus.

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The travellers are required to stay within their home for 14 days until a clinical (expert) signs-off as discharged, from follow-up without symptoms. They are asked to minimise contact with the public.

“Failure to adhere, we enforce facility quarantine. This is done as a preventive measure,” she said.

Mwale further explained that those quarantined are given masks so that other people are protected, in case they become positive.

She, however, said there is lack of compliance from some of the travellers and they would want to involve the police to ensure that they adhere to the rules.

Mwale ruled out the possibility of banning travel to China, but disclosed that they have engaged the Chinese Embassy in Malawi to limit travel.

She disclosed that as of Monday (this week) there were 79,331 cases of the coronavirus globally with 715 new registered cases.

China alone had 77,262 confirmed cases with 415 new ones. So far, China has registered 2,595 deaths.

In other 29 countries, there were 2,069 confirmed cases with 23 deaths reported.

She said currently, Malawi is not only focusing on China where there are 99 percent of the cases but also other countries like South Korea, Italy and Iran that are also registering more cases.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US had reached 53, health officials said Monday.

Most people who tested positive were former passengers of the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, which had been quarantined off Japan.

The disease is spread through droplets and close personal unprotected contact with an infected person touching or shaking hands and there is no immediate cure.

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