LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-In the past 24 hours, Malawi has registered four new COVID-19 cases, 57 new recoveries and no new deaths. All new cases are locally transmitted: two from Mzimba North, and one each from Blantyre and Ntcheu Districts. No new deaths were registered in the past 24 hours.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 61,716 cases including 2,292 deaths (Case Fatality Rate is at 3.71%). Of these cases, 2,660 are imported infections and 59,056 are locally transmitted.

Cumulatively, 56,825 cases have now recovered (recovery rate of 92.1%) and 232 were lost to follow-up. This brings the total number of active cases to 2,367. In the past 24 hours, there were no new admissions in the treatment units while no cases were discharged.

Currently, a total of 12 active cases are currently hospitalised (one case in critical condition and is not vaccinated): four in Blantyre, three in Lilongwe, two in Zomba, and one each in Ntcheu, Neno, and Karonga Districts.

On testing, in the past 24 hours, 308 COVID-19 tests were conducted. Of these, 37 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 1.3% a weekly positivity rate (seven days moving average) is at 1%.

Cumulatively, 418,712 tests have been conducted in the country so far. On COVID-19 vaccination, a total of 1,148,069 vaccine doses has been administered in the country so far.

Cumulatively 629,352 and 266,111 people have received the first dose and second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine respectively while 252,606 people have received Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Over the past 24 hours, 2,409 and 210 people have received first dose and second of AstraZeneca vaccine respectively while 30 people have received Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Cumulatively, 518,717 people are fully

The COVID-19 data indicates that the majority that are being admitted in the treatment units and also those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 are not vaccinated.

It is unfortunate that we continue to lose productive citizens due to COVID-19 yet most of these admissions and deaths could be prevented if all those that are aged 18 years and above are vaccinated against COVID-19.

We also should continue adhering to the preventive and containment measures of COVID-19 to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Prevention is far much better and cheaper than cure. Apart from losing people to COVID-19, the cost of taking care
and treating COVID-19 patients are much higher than the cost of the vaccine and the cost of preventing the disease.

The cost on families and friends in taking care of these patients including the daily hospital visitations is much higher than if we had prevented the disease in the first place.

Further, on average, an oxygen dependant patient in the treatment unit will require approximately 3 oxygen cylinders within 24 hours on top of other medications given and most will stay in hospital for 7 days on average. These COVID-19 hospitalizations are devastating for patients, their families, and health care providers.

If you factor in the pressure that these admissions are putting on the health system and also on family members taking care of these patients, the COVID-19 vaccines are a much cheaper, safer and effective way to address
the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to all adults (18 years and above) in our country. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 and they also reduce the likelihood of mild or asymptomatic infection. Now that we have adequate stocks of the vaccines in the country, it is time for every adult to get vaccinated.

Let me appeal to all those that have never received any COVID-19 vaccine and those that have received one dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and are due for the second dose to utilize this opportunity and get vaccinated, my special appeal goes to those with underlying conditions such as hypertension (BP), diabetes (sugar), Asthma and the elderly (aged 60 years and above) to seriously consider getting vaccinated as evidence has shown that COVID-19 is more severe in these categories of people.

Similarly, those who by nature of their occupation are at a high risk of contracting the disease such as health workers and frontline officers and even those that interact with a lot of people on a daily basis such as those working in banks, shops, vendors and those in the public transport sector should get vaccinated.

No one is safe until everyone else is safe. Get Fully Vaccinated! Wear Face Mask! Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Protect everyone.

Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, MP, MINISTER OF HEALTH

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