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#Malawi’s Covid-19 Update, September 24, 2021: 22 new cases, 3 deaths

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-In the past 24 hours, Malawi has registered 22 new COVID-19 cases, 539 new recoveries and three new deaths. All new cases are locally transmitted: seven from Blantyre, five each from Lilongwe and Mzimba North, and one each from Dedza, Dowa, Mchinji, Mzimba South, and Thyolo Districts. Three new deaths were registered in the past 24 hours: one each from Lilongwe, Mzimba North, and Dowa Districts. All new deaths were not vaccinated.

To the families that have lost their loved ones during this pandemic, may you find peace, hope and love during this difficult time. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 61,475 cases including 2,272 deaths (Case Fatality Rate is at 3.70%). Of these cases, 2,632 are imported infections and 58,843 are locally transmitted.

Cumulatively, 54,066 cases have now recovered (recovery rate of 88%) and 232 were lost to follow-up. This brings the total number of active cases to 4,905.

In the past 24 hours, there were four new admissions (all new admissions are not vaccinated) in the treatment units while 14 cases were discharged.

Currently, a total of 44 active cases are currently hospitalised (of these, six cases are in critical condition and all are not vaccinated): 12 in Lilongwe, eight in Mzimba North, four in Blantyre, three in Zomba, two each in Mangochi, Dowa, Karonga, Phalombe, and Chikwawa, and one each in Kasungu, Mulanje, Mchinji, Mzimba South, Balaka, Chiradzulu, and Mwanza Districts.

On testing, in the past 24 hours, 557 COVID-19 tests were conducted. Of these, 225 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 4% a weekly positivity rate (seven days moving average) is at 4.2%.

Cumulatively, 405,182 tests have been conducted in the country so far. On COVID-19 vaccination, a total of 1,019,673 vaccine doses has been administered in the country so far.

Cumulatively 533,540 and 247,097 people have received the first dose and second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine respectively while 239,036 people have received Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Over the past 24 hours, 6,841 and 1,520 people have received first dose and second of AstraZeneca vaccine respectively while 928 people have received Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Cumulatively, 486,133 people
are fully vaccinated.

On Thursday, the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 met to review the situation of the pandemic in the country, and the public health and other measures that are in place to contain the epidemic.

The taskforce gladly noted that the positivity rates for the coronavirus, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the number of people being admitted to isolation units with COVID-19, and the number of deaths due to COVID-19 has continued to decrease over the past four weeks; and that the number of patients that are recovering has been increasing. It was also noted that a similar picture was obtained in neighbouring countries.

On COVID-19 vaccination, the taskforce further noted progress with COVID-19 vaccinations using both the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines that are being rolled out across the country as one of the most powerful tools available to fight the pandemic at the moment.

I would like to further urge Malawians to go and get vaccinated as this is one of the best ways we have to control the epidemic, and to help free our social lives and economy.

I wish to confirm that we have adequate stocks of vaccines in our government and CHAM facilities across the country, and more will be procured until we achieve the minimum required coverage to achieve community wide protection (herd immunity).

It was further observed that while the number of people that had received COVID-19 vaccines is increasing, it was increasing at a slow pace to achieve a level of coverage that would offer the Malawi community freedom from illness and death in a timely manner.

The taskforce therefore decided to adopt the following mixed approach to help accelerate coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine and protect the Malawian population from the ravages of the virus, now and in the future, in order to allow the economy to be gradually freed, socially and economically:
 Intensify initiatives to increase awareness about, and bring the vaccine to the people
where they live, especially in rural areas, through establishment of non-traditional
vaccination sites, and working with chiefs and other community leaders;
 Encourage citizenry to get vaccinated and to comply with recommended preventive
measures such as use of face masks, frequent washing of hands, and use of hand
 Promote initiatives to make workplaces safer through targeted universal vaccination
to protect high risk and vulnerable population groups, in a context of protecting
individual as well as community health rights and responsibilities.

The progress notwithstanding, it was confirmed by the technical team that the country was still at level 2 of the epidemic, and that therefore the currently recommended public health and other measures should remain in place. This includes the current limitations on indoor and outdoor gatherings, and travel and transport.

I would therefore urge fellow Malawians and residents to comply with the limitations in place at the level of epidemic we are, and to observe the recommended Public Health preventive measures. Regarding gatherings, the taskforce
agreed to review the limitations on the number of people that can gather indoors and outdoors at the various levels of the pandemic, especially level 1 and 2, to make them more friendly.

Further, for sports and recreational gatherings, the taskforce also agreed to review and consider allowing increased numbers subject to vaccination status of the attenders.

Current request from SULOM for games this weekend, and other bodies, will be treated in this way. Let me also
urge employers to take steps to make their work places safer for the workers, as well as for clients alike, by developing and implementing human and community health rights based strategies towards universal vaccination at the workplace.

The taskforce will continue to review the situation of the epidemic regularly, and adjust the control measures accordingly.

For COVID-19 Vaccination certificate queries please call toll free 929 or email or send WhatsApp message to +265887371288.

Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, MP, MINISTER OF HEALTH

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