Malawi COVID-19 infection, death rates keep soaring

2021-01-23 13:35:13 GMT2021-01-23 21:35:13(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

LILONGWE, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- COVID-19 continues to reign havoc in Malawi with new confirmed cases increased by 163 percent and deaths by 135 percent for the month of January alone.

Malawi registered its first COVID-19 cases on April 2, 2020, and the sub-Saharan country closed the year 2020 on December 31 with a cumulative total of 189 COVID-19 deaths and 505 active cases.

But as of Friday, Malawi had cumulatively recorded 445 deaths and active cases had surged to 10,302, according to data sourced from the Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM) daily updates.

The country recorded 1,316 new cases and 49 deaths Friday, the highest figures of new infections and deaths ever recorded in one day since the first cases were confirmed.

Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, declared a state of national disaster in all the country's 28 districts on Jan. 12 after the country lost two cabinet ministers on the same day due to COVID-19.

The president called for support from the UN organizations, international organizations and the private sector to help the developing country fight the pandemic.

Chakwera described the deaths of the two ministers, Sidik Mia, Minister of Transport and Public Works, and Lingson Berekanyama, Minister of Local Government, as "incalculable loss" to the country.

He declared a 3-day mourning period for the fallen cabinet ministers and all Malawians who had died of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, all schools and learning institutions, except those with boarding facilities, have been closed and the government has instituted mass screening and testing for learners in the boarding learning facilities.

The revised COVID-19 containment guidelines have also banned meetings while religious meetings for prayers have been restricted to not more than 50 attendees.

The regulations also restrict bars from opening except from 14:00-20:00 local time just to allow imbibers access beer on taking away basis.

A curfew has been imposed from 21:00-05:00 local time and wearing of masks is a must to every Malawian or foreigner in the country.

Malawi Police Service and Malawi Defence Force are being deployed in the country's cities and towns to enforce adherence to the regulations and guidelines and those found contravening the regulations are being arrested and taken to court forthwith. Enditem

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