Malawi records first Covid-19 cases

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Rustenburg – Malawi has recorded its first three Covid-19 cases, joining other southern African countries which have imposed lockdowns to try and contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

“We now have three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Malawi. The first affected case is a female from Lilongwe who had recently returned from India. She was in self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Malawi but later became symptomatic,” President Peter Mutharika said in an address broadcast on television on Thursday evening.

“The second case is a relative to the index patient while the third case is a domestic worker in their household.”

He said the government was providing initial care and medical management for the three and efforts were underway to trace people who had come into contact with them.

Southern African countries have implemented sweeping measures to curtail the spread of Covid-19, with Botswana effecting a 28-day lockdown from Friday after recording four cases and one death, while Namibia is on a partial lockdown after recording 14 cases, as is Eswatini which has nine cases.

Mozambique, which has declared a 30-day state of emergency, has 10 cases, while Zimbabwe, currently on a 21-day lockdown, has notched nine cases with one death and Angola has eight cases, out of which two people have died.

Zambia has recorded 39 cases and one death and regional powerhouse South Africa, which is on a 21-day lockdown until April 16, has 1 462 cases, the highest number on the continent.

Five people have died due to Covid-19 in South Africa, while 50 have recovered.

Lesotho has yet to record any confirmed cases, but the mountain kingdom which is completely surrounded by South Africa has been on a lockdown since Monday.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the lockdowns imposed in many African countries will help to slow down the spread of Covid-19 on the continent.

“If transmission would start to slow down from the lockdown … it would only show up in a reduction of cases a few days from now,” regional director for Africa Dr Matshediso Moeti said on Thursday.

WHO says Africa has 6 075 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 214 people dying while 478 have recovered.

African News Agency/ANA