By Chancy Namadzunda:
President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has declared Malawi a State of National Disaster following ‘long and darkest hours’ amid rising of of Covid-19 cases and deaths.
Addressing the nation in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Chakwera hinted that depending on consultations with different stakeholders, he might as well declare a State of Emergency, if the status does not improver for better
He has further directed that the national flag should fly half mast for three days, signifying the mourning period.
“This nation is going through long and darkest hours in our history. This has led to these new directives,” he said adding that the country has entered the eye of the pandemic.
The President’s address came hours after Ministers of Local Government Lingson Belekanyama and Transport Sidik Mia have succumbed to Covid-19.
Until his death, Mia was also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Vice President.
Several ministers have tested positive after attending a cabinet meeting recently.
As of Monday January 11, 2021, registered 452 new COVID-19 cases, 14 new recoveries, and ten new deaths. Of the new cases, 174 cases are imported infections: 154 were 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 are 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 2ndApril 2020. The local transmission has surpassed the 7,000 mark,” he said.