Malawian Covid19 update

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau

A Malawian citizen who on Wednesday evening was put into quarantine at the Beitbridge District coronavirus management centre, after presenting symptoms synonymous with coronavirus (COVID-19) is in a stable condition and health officials here have sent his specimens for further laboratory tests in Harare. It is expected that results will be made available in the next 24 hours. His 19 countrymen were screened and escorted to an exit border to Malawi after they did not present any signs consistent with the disease. The passengers were escorted by Government officials in separate vehicles to ensure they don’t have contact with anyone until they cross the border to their country. It has since been established that the Malawians were travelling aboard a Munorurama bus, not Munhenzwa as reported earlier.

The man was in transit from Northern Cape, in South Africa to Malawi via Zimbabwe, but the routine screening of all arrivals from South Africa found he had a temperature above normal, fever and a history of coughing. So the standard precautions came into effect as the health team swung  into action and he was taken in for tests after 5 pm and then quarantined.
District medical officer, Dr Lenos Samhere said they had conducted all the necessary tests on the man and sent the specimens to the last night said health authorities will have a clear picture after concluding medical tests.
“Currently the man has been isolated and in a stable condition, we have since collected his specimens for testing,” he said. “As we speak the samples have been sent to national referencing in Harare for testing and we are confident that once the sample get to the laboratory we who should be getting results in the next 24 hours.

“In the case of the other passengers they have been screened and cleared to proceed to the next exit point since they did not present any signs associated with the condition (COVID-19)”. He encouraged people to practice standard measures, among them personal hygiene and avoiding crowded places to minimise the spread of the condition. Dr Samhere said Mimosa Mine was now working with the Government to upgrade the port health facilities at Beitbridge Border Post where screening of all travellers was mandatory. “There is construction work that is going on within the border and this will come with all the facilities we would need for a port health centre.

“We have support from Mimosa Mine who are helping us upgrade the current port health facilities, which we expect to be complete by the end of the day (Thursday),” said the official.
He said they had requested additional staff from their head office to strengthen their capacity on the ground.

Dr Samhere said they were in need of; 29 environmental health technicians, 20 nurses, 12 nurse aides, 12 general hands and one laboratory technician. Currently, he said they were operating with six environmental health technicians, four-port health technicians, and several environmental health students. Meanwhile, Beitbridge Municipality has localised the national responsiveness and preparedness launched by  President Mnangagwa on Thursday.