Careless positive minister puts whole cabinet at Covid-19 risk

By Our Reporter:

So far, Ministers of Local Government Lingson Belekanyama and Transport Sidik Mia have succumbed to Covid-19.

The Atlas Malawi investigations have found out that current COVID-19 cases within the cabinet are linked to one cabinet minister as a primary source. The minister (name withheld for her safety) attended the December 21, 2020 Cabinet Meeting at Kamuzu Palace although she tested positive.

President Dr Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima were also in attendance.

However, we have failed to establish if they have also tested positive of Covid-19 and are in isolation, but they have never been seen in public recently.

A high profile source confided in the The Atlas Malawi the said minister and her driver, tested positive of Covid-19 days before the cabinet meeting, but did not disclose it to anyone.

“Her driver went into isolation but she continued working and going around the country even though she was positive. She even attended the cabinet meeting, thereby putting fellow cabinet members at fist,” said our source.

Since the meeting, over half of the cabinet members have tested positive, with two deaths registered so far.

Information minister Gospel Kazako has called on the citizens to remain calm and be prayerful.

“We are passing through trying times, let’s be vigilant in the fight against the disease, and always remember to pray hard,” he said.

As of Monday January 11, 2021, Malawi registered 452 new COVID-19 cases, 14 new recoveries, and 10 new deaths. Of the new cases, 174 cases were imported infections: 154 identified among 700 residents returning from South Africa who were being held at Mapanga Prison Training School while 20 were identified at Mwanza border through routine screening of people entering the country.

“Four of the new deaths were from Lilongwe, three are from Blantyre, two form Zomba, and one Kasungu. Our hearts go out to families that have lost loved ones due to COVID-19. May you find peace, hope and love during this difficult times. May their souls rest in peace,” said Presidential Taskforce Co-Chairperson Dr John Phuka

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 9,027 cases including 235 deaths. Of these cases, 1,852 are imported infections and 7,175 are locally transmitted. Cumulatively, 5,838 cases have now recovered, 134 were lost to follow-up, and 76 are still being investigated to ascertain their outcome.

This brings the total number of active cases to 2,744. Of the active cases, 102 active cases are admitted.

“The average age of the cases is 35 years, the youngest case being aged two weeks, the oldest being 98 years old and 67.3% are male. On testing, in the past 24 hours, 1,696 COVID-19 tests were conducted, 147 of the new tests were through SARS-COV-2 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic test while the rest were through RT-PCR and cumulatively, 97,429 tests, have been conducted in the country so far.

“We are still observing a rapid increase in the number of new confirmed cases, admissionand deaths due to COVID-19 in the past three weeks. Today, we have recorded a high number of confirmed cases and admission within 24hours at 452 and 102 respectively, this is the highest number ever recorded in our country since the first COVID-19 cases was recorded on 2nd April 2020. The local transmission has surpassed the 7,000 mark,” he said.

Phuka said although everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease is often more severe in older people and/or those that have health conditions like lung or heart disease, diabetes (sugar disease), hypertension (high BP), TB and HIV, asthma or conditions that affect their immune system.

“It has been observed that many people are not aware that they have these underlying conditions and only became aware while having COVID-19 infection and in most instances the condition becomes severe.

It is important for the for everyone to routinely get screened for these underlying conditions. For those that have these chronic diseases, it is important ensure that the chronic condition you live with is under control; this means ensuring you are regularly taking medication for diabetes (sugar disease), hypertension (high BP), HIV, TB and asthma,” he said

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