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COVID-19 pandemic in Malawi

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COVID-19 pandemic in Malawi
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationMalawi
First caseLilongwe
Arrival date2 April 2020
(11 months and 3 days)
OriginWuhan, China via India
Confirmed cases203 (as of 28 May)[1]
Active cases157 (as of 28 May)[2]
Recovered42 (as of 28 May)[3]
Deaths
4 (as of 28 May)[3]
Official website
http://covid19.health.gov.mw/

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached Malawi on 2 April 2020.[4]

Background[edit source | edit]

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[5][6]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[7][8] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[9][7]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

President Peter Mutharika confirmed the country's first three cases of coronavirus disease 2019 on 2 April. The three cases include a Malawian of Asian origin who travelled back from India, her relative and their housemaid.[10]

A fourth case was confirmed on 4 April which involved an individual who had recently returned from the UK.[11] A fifth case involved a woman who had returned from the UK and had been on quarantine some weeks earlier.[12] On 7 April, it was announced that she had passed on.[13] Malawi has identified three more cases making a total of 8. One is of a 34 year old who had immediate contact with the first case that was registered on 2 April, the second involved a 28 year old lady who traveled from the UK on 19 March whereas the third case was of a 30 year old gentleman who traveled to South Africa on 16 March.[14]

Government response[edit source | edit]

Template:2019–20 coronavirus pandemic data/Malawi medical cases chart Despite there being no confirmed cases prior to April the 2nd, President Mutharika declared the coronavirus pandemic a national disaster. Some of the measures that were put in place included the banning of gatherings of more than 100 people in places such as churches, rallies, weddings and funerals. He also instructed that both public and private education institutions be closed from 23 March. He further urged the government to suspend the hosting of international meetings and banned public servants from attending regional and international meetings. He called upon returning residents and nationals coming from affected to subject themselves to self or institutional quarantine.[15]

It was only after the first four cases were identified in April that Mutharika instituted new measures which included the suspension of all formal meetings, gatherings and conferences. He further directed the Malawi Prison Services and Juvenile Centres to present a list of prisoners and juveniles who committed "petty offences" including those that have served a significant portion of their sentences for moderate crimes to the Minister of Homeland Security in order to decongest the overpopulation of the country's prisons.[16] Other measures have included the slashing of fuel prices as well as placing a waive on non-tourist levy to support the tourism industry including a waive of resident tax on all foreign doctors and medical personnel. The Treasury has been called upon to reduce the salaries of the President, Cabinet and deputy ministers by 10 percent for three months in order to direct the resources to fight against the coronavirus. The Malawi Revenue Authority were instructed to open up a voluntary tax compliance window for a period of six months so as to allow taxpayers with arrears to settle their tax obligations.[17] Mutharika called upon all offices to work in shifts except those working in essential services in order to mitigate the congestion in the workplaces.[16] On 14 April, President Mutharika announced a 21-day lockdown starting Saturday 18 April at midnight.[18] However, on 17 April, the Malawi High Court temporarily barred the government from implementing the 21-day lockdown following a petition by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition.[19] The argument made by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition was that more consultation was needed to prevent harm to the poorest and most vulnerable of society.[20]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. "COVID-19 - MOHP MALAWI". covid19.health.gov.mw. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  2. "COVID-19 - MOHP MALAWI". covid19.health.gov.mw. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Covid 19 National Information Dashboard". Ministry of Health and Population, Malawi.
  4. Foundation, Thomson Reuters. "Malawi records first three cases of coronavirus". news.trust.org. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  5. Elsevier. "Novel Coronavirus Information Center". Elsevier Connect. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  6. Reynolds, Matt (4 March 2020). "What is coronavirus and how close is it to becoming a pandemic?". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Crunching the numbers for coronavirus". Imperial News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  8. "High consequence infectious diseases (HCID); Guidance and information about high consequence infectious diseases and their management in England". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  9. "World Federation Of Societies of Anaesthesiologists – Coronavirus". www.wfsahq.org. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  10. "Malawi confirms three cases of coronavirus of coronavirus: President Mutharika calls for calm". NyasaTimes.com. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  11. "Malawi records another Covid-19 patient, says Minister of Health". Nyasa Times.com. 4 April 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  12. "Malawi registers 5th COVID-19 case". FaceofMalawi.com. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  13. "Just In: Malawi Registers First Covid-19 Death". FaceofMalawi.com. 7 April 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  14. "Malawi confirmed Covid-19 cases rise to 8, as first death recorded-Minister". NyasaTimes.com. 7 April 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  15. "Mutharika lays out Malawi 'response plan' on Coronavirus: Bans gatherings of 100 people, schools closing". NyasaTimes.com. 20 March 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Mutharika urges Malawi unity and 'steadfast' in Covid-19 fight: Announce new measures to stop spread of outbreak". NyasaTimes.com. 4 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  17. "Mutharika orders fuel price slash, pay cuts for Executive: Tax relief in Malawi". NyasaTimes.com. 4 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  18. "Malawi joins other southern African nations in coronavirus lockdown". Reuters. 14 April 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  19. "This country's high court blocked its coronavirus lockdown in a bid to protect the poor". Quartz Africa. 17 April 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  20. "Malawi high court blocks coronavirus lockdown". Al Jazeera.com. 17 April 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020.