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Panic as Mzuni lecturer dies of Covid-19

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Mzuzu University (Mzuni) has recorded three cases of Covid-19, one of which is a senior lecturer, Dominic Gondwe, who died on Thursday.

The development has brought fear among students, lecturers and guardians as the institution just re-opened for classes on Monday this week.

But the University’s registrar, Yonamu Ngwira, said this should not bring fear as the cases involve staff members who reside off campus and that they are in isolation.

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“We have a Covid-19 response committee which looks at issue of prevention, managing Covid-19 related issues and so far, we have three cases of Covid-19 including one death. All the three cases are staff members who do not live on campus, so they are on isolation or in the hospital,” he said.

He further added that the campus continues to operate normally while observing Covid-19 prevention measures such as wearing of masks and frequent handwashing.

“We are aware of social media stories that we have about 28 cases of Covid-19 which is not true. The speculation has indeed has caused fear. But as I mentioned, all the cases are off campus,” he said.

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In a memo addressing staff members and students, Ngwira said Gondwe, until his death, was heading Mzuni’s Department of Forestry.

“The University activities will proceed while we mourn silently the departure of the senior member of the University community. Memorial service may be planned to be held at an appropriate time later,” the memo, dated January 7, 2020 reads.

But students, in an earlier communication, had accused the management of keeping a tight lid on issues surrounding Covid-19 pandemic at the campus.

Mzuni University Students Representative Council President, John Gonapamuhanya Gondwe, said they are living in fear.

“This is a very worrying development since students are being kept in the dark. In a case where some students might have been in contact with those infected, it will be difficult for them to take a step towards self-isolation and testing for the virus. This is a threat as it may eventually lead to massive spread among students,” he said.

Cumulatively as of Wednesday January 6, 2021, Malawi had recorded 7, 337 cases, including 199 deaths.

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