LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-In the past 24 hours, Malawi has registered 867 new COVID-19 cases, 116 new recoveries and 11 new deaths. Of the new cases, 866 are locally transmitted: 175 from Lilongwe, 136 from Blantyre, 75 from Mzimba South, 52 from Mchinji, 48 from Zomba, 45 from Ntcheu, 33 from Mzimba North, 27 from Nkhotakota, 26 each from Kasungu and Mulanje, 21 from Salima, 20 each from Balaka and Chikwawa, 19 each from Dowa and Ntchisi, 18 each from Dedza and Mangochi, 13 from Karonga, 12 from Thyolo, 11 each from Chiradzulu and Phalombe, 10 each from Nsanje and Rumphi, nine
each from Machinga and Neno, and three from Nkhata Bay Districts while one case is imported and is from Mulanje District.

11 new deaths were registered in the past 24 hours; four from Lilongwe, two from Mangochi, and one each from Blantyre, Dowa, Mulanje, Mzimba South, and Rumphi Districts. My condolences goes to the bereaved
families and may the souls of the departed rest in peace.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 44,684 cases including 1,363 deaths (Case Fatality Rate is at 3.05%). Of these cases, 2,531 are imported infections and 42,153 are locally transmitted. Cumulatively, 35,203 cases have now recovered (recovery rate of 78.8%) and 232 were lost to follow-up. This brings the total number of active cases to 7,886.

In the past 24 hours, there were 66 new admissions in the treatment units while 34 cases were discharged. Currently, a total of 330 active cases are currently hospitalised; 93 in Blantyre, 84 in Lilongwe, 32 in Zomba, 13 in Kasungu, nine each in Mzimba North and Ntchisi, eight in Thyolo and Chiradzulu, six each in Salima, Dowa, Mzimba South, and Rumphi, five each in Mangochi, Mulanje, Neno, Mchinji, and Balaka, four in Machinga, three each in Nkhotakota, Ntcheu, Phalombe, and Chikwawa, two each in Dedza, Chitipa, and Mwanza, and one each in Nkhata Bay, Karonga, and Nsanje Districts. On testing, in the past 24 hours, 3,303 COVID-19 tests were conducted.

Of these, 677 tests were through SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic test while the rest were through RT-PCR. The positive cases out of the total number tested (past 24 hours) translates to a positivity rate of 26,3% while a weekly positivity rate (seven days moving average) is at 26.3%.

Cumulatively, 306,087 tests have been conducted in the country so far. On COVID-19 vaccination, cumulatively 385,242 and 43,165 people have received the first dose and second dose respectively. The COVID-19 vaccination
remain paused hence no doses were administered over the past 24 hours.

A total of428,407 vaccine doses has been administered in the country so far. Today is another sad day for our country where in this third wave, we have registered the highest number of COVID-19 confirmed cases (867), and the seven days moving average is at 26.3% and our treatment units has also registered a record high number of patients in treatment units (330) since the start of the third wave in June.

It is time for all of us to act to stop the further spread of COVID-19 in our midst by strictly adhering to all the preventive and containment measures.

As we are fighting this pandemic we have also observed that there is stigma and discrimination towards those that have been diagnosed with COVID-19, their contacts, their families and those that have recovered from the disease.

This is worrisome as it may compromise the efforts to suppress the disease in our country as some people may
not follow all preventive and containment measures i.e. self-isolation and quarantine for fear of being stigmatized. Stigma can also prevent people from getting tested for COVID-19 fearing stigmatization. And it can make life very difficult for the families of people who have had COVID-19, when others victimize the individual and the family
even after they have recovered.

It has also been observed that other people though they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 unfortunately are not following all the measures to contain the further spread of the disease to others thereby exposing a large number of people to the virus.

Let me emphasize that everyone is at risk of contracting the disease and there is no need to stigmatize one another, if you have been exposed to the virus, it is important to seek health care and get the appropriate advice and care, there is no need to hide or to be afraid of stigma. We need to act in unity to stop the spread of the disease in our midst
in order to save more lives. No one is safe until everyone else is safe. The time to act is now.

We also need to provide psychosocial support to the people that have been diagnosed with COVID-19 disease and their families. Helping them stay connected to their loved one through phones or messaging can provide comfort during the period they are under isolation.

Similarly, losing someone we love is always difficult. Our hearts go out to families that have lost their loved ones due to COVID-19. May you find peace, hope and love during this difficult times. If you feel stressed during this period, please seek psychosocial support by calling your nearest facility or by calling toll free 929.

No one is safe until everyone else is safe. Wear Face Mask! Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Protect everyone. Call toll free 929.

Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, MP

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