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Items filtered by date: April 2020
Full remarks by Minister of Health, Jappie Mhango (Friday, 17th April, 2020)
Good afternoon,
I am happy to report to you that in the past 5 days we have recorded no death due to COVID- 19.
However, today we have recorded 1 new case of COVID-19.
The case has been confirmed by College of Medicine Laboratory in Blantyre.
The case is a 70-year-old Malawian who lives in Blantyre.
This brings the total number of reported cases in Malawi to 17 including 2 deaths.
The 17 cases are distributed as follows:
• 9 cases, including 1 death, in Blantyre.
• 6 cases, including 1 death, in Lilongwe
• 1 case, no death, in Chikwawa.
• 1 case, no death, in Nkhotakota
The first 3 cases of COVID-19 that were diagnosed and confirmed in Lilongwe on 2 April, 2020 tested negative yesterday.
As a matter of procedure, the test will be repeated tomorrow and if they test negative again, they will be declared cured of COVID-19.
We will keep the nation updated of any new developments
I thank you all
Total Malawi on Friday (17th April, 2020) donated fuel worth K5 million to the national Covid-19 response operations.
Speaking in Lilongwe when he officially handed over the donation, Total Malawi Regional Manager (Sales) Abel Yellewa said the company felt obliged to make the donation having gone through the launched National Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.
“We went through the plan and we thought we should make a small contribution. This donation is meant to ease the mobility of health care staff involved in testing suspected cases,” said Yellewa.
In his remarks, Secretary and Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, commended Total Malawi for the timely donation.
“As you may recall, President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika declared Covid-19 a national disaster and in collaboration with various stakeholders, we came up with a preparedness and response plan to guide the response interventions.
“The plan is worth K157 billion and these are not the funds we have at hand but what we need to effectively respond to the pandemic. We recently called upon various stakeholders to financially and technically support the plan and I am pleased that Total Malawi has made this donation. The resource gap is huge and we call upon all stakeholders and well-wishers to emulate Total Malawi’s gesture,” said Moleni.

Tuesday, 7th April, 2020

I regret to inform the nation that the 51-year-old Malawian lady of Indian Origin who had just recently returned from UK and was our 5th patient to test positive from Covid 19 has sadly passed on in the early hours of this morning. She had an Underlining Medical condition.

Our Blantyre District Health Office, Environmental Health Team is assisting with the burial arrangements.

As a nation, we grieve with the family of the deceased and I urge you all to respect their privacy.

As a matter of an update on the Covid 19 situation, the country has today confirmed 3 new cases, two in Blantyre and one in Chikwawa.

One case in Blantyre is a 34-year-old family contact of the first case that was registered on 3 April 2020. The second case is a 28-year-old lady who travelled from London, UK on 19 March, 2020. The person confirmed in Chikwawa is a 30-year- old gentleman who traveled from South Africa on 16 March, 2020.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 8, including 1 death.

Please let us continue to observe the prevention guidelines we have put in place.

  • Regular hand washing
  • Social Distancing
  • Avoid Handshakes
  • Observe self-quarantine rules as provided if you have recently returned from a hot spot country

We will keep the nation updated of any new developments

I thank you all


Monday, 06 April 2020 13:47

Malawi registers its fifth Covid-19 case

Chairperson of the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 Jappie Mhango, has announced at a press briefing in Lilongwe that the country has registered its fifth confirmed case. Mhango, identified the case as a Blantyre-based female who returned from the United Kingdom on 28 March, 2020, and was on self-quarantine.

4 April 2020
Fellow Malawians,
On Thursday, I announced that we now have confirmed cases of Coronavirus disease. Now we have a fourth confirmed case in Blantyre. An attack on one of us is an attack on us all. This is an attack we must all fight. Either we unite and fight, or we perish!
We are not alone in these tragic times. The whole world is under attack from this deadly virus. Many countries are struggling, many people are suffering and many are dying across the world.
On 20th March, I declared Malawi a State of Disaster on the basis of Coronavirus attack. I want to thank every Malawian who has been complying with the preventive measures which Government has put in place. Prevention is wiser than cure. Precaution is always wisdom.
We are encouraging every Malawian to observe strict rules of hygiene, including frequent washing of hands with soap and wearing masks;
We are intensifying screening of people in all entry points and surveillance of all travellers from countries that have confirmed coronavirus cases;
We have intensified civic education and information sharing with communities;
We are increasing the number of testing centres in various parts of the country over and above the three laboratories that we have, namely:
the National Health Reference Laboratory in Lilongwe;
the College of Medicine Laboratory; and
the Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust in Blantyre;
These measures are not enough. We need to do more on all fronts.
Coronavirus is a public health problem. It is also an economic threat and a social problem.
I know that everyone is worried but I also know that we can survive this problem if we unite and fight.
Today, I therefore announce more measures to be implemented with immediate effect:
In order to decongest work places, all offices shall work in shifts with the exception of those working in essential services. In the public sector, the Chief Secretary to the Government will issue a circular to provide guidelines while for the private and other sectors, the heads of institutions shall liaise with the Secretary responsible for Labour for guidelines;
All formal meetings, gatherings and conferences are suspended forthwith;
All places, buildings and structures with public access shall ensure that there is adequate ventilation during all periods the public has access to those places, buildings and structures;
All employers shall allow vulnerable employees, including those with underlying medical conditions, to work from or stay at home.
In order to decongest our prisons, I direct the Malawi Prison Services and Juvenile Centres to present a list of prisoners and juveniles who committed petty offences and those who have served a significant portion of their sentences for moderate crimes to the Minister of Homeland Security for processing of their release;
I am further directing all affected line Ministries and Local Councils to ensure that they have consulted and engaged their stakeholders such as vendors, market leaders, religious leaders, chiefs and the private sector to agree on sector specific measures and submit them to the Cabinet Committee for my approval within the next 72 hours.
The Coronavirus attack has a huge negative impact on the economy and businesses everywhere. There are many business people and industry players who are uncertain about the situation as it is unfolding. I know that everyone is worried.
Therefore, Government will take measures to protect jobs and incomes, protect businesses and ensure continuity of the supply chain and the survival of the economy.
Let us remember one thing. Malawi’s economy has its own unique characteristics. We are not any other country.
At the same time, the situation we have is unprecedented to everyone. With Coronavirus, there are no models except ourselves.
Therefore, it is extremely important that we must be engaging and listening to one another very carefully.
Government must listen to the private sector and the private sector must listen to us – just as I urge employers and employees to listen to one another.
Consequently, I urge the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Trade as well as the Reserve Bank to constantly keep engaging and listening to the private sector as we develop and review various measures.
Our goal is to protect the private sector, no matter how informal it may be, because our economy cannot survive without the private sector.
Today, I am directing the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) to reduce fuel prices with immediate effect. This move is intended to reduce transport cost.
I am also directing the Treasury to do the following:
Reduce salaries of the President, Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers by 10 percent for three months and direct the resources to the fight against the coronavirus;
Instruct the Malawi Revenue Authority to open up a voluntary tax compliance window for a period of six months to allow tax payers with arrears to settle their tax obligations in instalments without penalty;
Provide a special fund to ADMARC to buy agricultural produce at competitive prices;
Establish a Relief Fund through which well-wishers, companies and individuals can support the fight against Coronavirus;
Apply tax waivers on importation of essential goods for Coronavirus management. These include personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers, soaps, water treatment chemicals and many more;
Waive tourism levy to support the tourism industry;
Waive non-resident tax on all foreign doctors and medical personnel;
Increase the MEDF loans allocation from K13 billion to K15 billion in order to help Micro, Small and Medium Scale businesses that have been seriously affected by the pandemic;
Increase Nutrition Allowance payable to civil servants with foundational medical conditions by 50 percent;
Reduce fees and charges on all electronic money transactions in order to promote use of electronic money transactions;
I am also directing the Ministry of Health to recruit 2,000 health workers to assist in the fight of the pandemic. We need more soldiers and human power in this fight.
I am directing Treasury to increase the risk allowances for our health workers as a matter of urgency. The welfare of healthcare workers is our welfare. Their safety is our safety.
I am directing the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that Auction Holdings Limited functions normally to operate the tobacco marketing season and protect tobacco farmers.
Further, I am directing Reserve Bank to:
Implement a win-win arrangement with commercial banks and Micro-Finance Institutions to observe a three-month moratorium on interest and principal repayments for all loans contracted by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Under this arrangement the Registrar will encourage commercial banks to restructure loans to this sector in order to extend their repayment to more than a year;
Cushion the foreign exchange market to ensure availability of forex and stability of the foreign exchange rate;
Activate an Emergency Liquidity Assistance framework to support banks in the event of worsening liquidity conditions and to provide support to banks on a case by case basis.
I am also directing Government to discuss with Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Tourism Association of Malawi for win-win arrangements that will ensure that there are no redundancies in companies.
As we speak, I have discussed with SADC, COMESA and other regional trade blocks as well as neighbouring countries to ensure smooth transportation and importation of essential goods and raw materials into Malawi.
Finally, I hereby direct the Competition and Fair Trading Commission to increase surveillance and protect consumers from anyone who wants to unfairly increase prices of essential goods. People who intend to take advantage of our current situation will be punished. I will not allow anyone to take advantage of coronavirus attack to exploit consumers.
Government shall continue to monitor the implementation of these new and existing measures and review the situation as it develops. More comprehensive measures may be imposed
I want to thank Development Partners for your support and standing with us as a country. Most of you are serving Malawians when your own families and loved ones are in equally demanding situations in your home countries. I appreciate your sacrifice.
In conclusion, I would like us to unite and stand steadfast in these trying times. Together, we can win the war against Coronavirus. Let us not politicize this pandemic.
I thank you for your attention.
4th April, 2020
As you recall, on 30th March 2020, the President, Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika, declared coronavirus a National Disaster and only 2 days ago, His Excellency announced to the nation that Malawi has recorded its first 3 confirmed cases of coronavirus all of them from a single household in Lilongwe, I wish to inform you that we have another confirmed case in Blantyre.
This patient recently returned from the UK and was in self-quarantine. Tests were done yesterday at the College of Medicine laboratory where it was confirmed that the results are positive. With this new case, Malawi now has 4 new cases of coronavirus and we can confirm local transmission based on the initial three cases from Lilongwe. All these 4 cases have mild disease
Fellow Malawians, it is very clear that we are at war with the disease and therefore we all need to work together to contain the virus. The Special Cabinet Committee on coronavirus has been regularly meeting to monitor and give guidance on Government interventions to prevent and contain the disease. Government is now intensifying measures to contain the disease by among other things
1. Ensuring contact tracing on all those individuals that came into contact with the confirmed cases
2. Provision of testing services to all suspected cases
3. Increasing surveillance on coronavirus
4. Enforcing measures on social distancing
5. Enforcing hand-washing in all communities
6. Provision of Personal Protective Equipment to all personnel who are at risk of contracting the disease especially health care workers.
The Ministry of Health knows that coronavirus realises that there is shortage of health care workers and therefore working on
1. Increasing the funding allocation to the staff to be recruited now
2. fast tracking the recruitment process for health care workers.
Various ministries and govt departments and councils have developed guidelines and by-laws to contain the virus. In fact Opinion leaders (Traditional Leaders including all Paramount Chiefs, Religious leaders), District Commissioners and Directors of Health and Social Services in the districts have been oriented on coronavirus. Govt also engaged the Private Sector to discuss the impact of coronavirus and how the sector can contribute to the fight against the disease
1. In infrastructure, all district hospitals have reserved rooms and spaces for treatment of confirmed cases that have moderate and severe disease
2. Works on other existing treatment sites has started now that we have funding for all the 10 sites in some of our border districts and central hospitals
3. Training for health care workers and community health workers is currently underway
4. Govt has repaired ventilators in our central hospitals and has provided an additional 20 new ventilators into our treatment sites
5. Govt has more than 20,000 test kits that were donated by Jack Ma and are currently being used at CHSU and College of Medicine and Liverpool Welcome Trust laboratories. Govt, through UNICEF, is procuring another 5000 test kits to be delivered within a month. Take note that all our test kits have met the standards defined by WHO and CDC and our machines and protocol also meet the set standards. In fact, we have been confirming the initial results with NICD in South Africa
6. Ministry of Health is finalising guidelines on the use of GenExpert machines to ensure that testing is available in all district hospitals
7. Through UNICEF, Personal Protective Equipment is being procured for all health care workers. Priority is given to local suppliers, who meet the required standards.
8. Risk communication is currently being done through the Health Education Unit where posters, jingles, leaflets etc have been developed.
9. The MOH has developed an application which will be used to ensure that we are able to track patients and suspects to ensure compliance to guidelines.
Take note that the ministry has received technical and material support from WHO plus UN Family and CDC, financial support from DFID, HSJF, the governments of Norway and Germany, GAVI, The Global Fund and other development partners.
Again local organisations and companies have contributed to the fight – including messaging through our radio and TV stations, Mobile phone companies such as Airtel (including Airtel support to the Chipatala Cha Pa Foni).
Take note that we have noted that the Chipatala Cha Pa Foni has been overwhelmed by phone calls and the ministry is working on increasing the capacity and personnel to improve the situation
Finally, govt is committed to ensure that coronavirus is contained in Malawi and will do everything possible together with all its partners to win the fight.
I thank you all
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Fellow Malawians,
As you are all aware, the world has been attacked by Coronavirus. And until today, Malawi had no any confirmed case.
However, sadly, I would like to inform the nation that for first time, we now have confirmed cases of Coronavirus disease in the country. There are three cases. The first affected person is a 61-year-old female from Lilongwe.
The affected woman had recently returned from India where she was in contact with a relative who was later confirmed as Coronavirus positive. She was in self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Malawi, but later became symptomatic within the 14 days’ quarantine period.
The second case is a relative to the index patient, while the third case is a domestic worker for the index in their household.
We are currently providing initial care and medical management for all three cases. We are also tracing all close contacts and requiring them to go into quarantine for 14 days where they can be observed.
Let me remind all Malawians that Coronavirus is preventable and that we can save lives if we do the following, among other things:
1. Observing social distancing (not less than 1 meter apart)
2. Observing proper hand-washing with soap for not less than 20 seconds
3. Avoiding coughing or sneezing into one’s hands
Not long from today, in view of the confirmed Coronavirus cases, I will be addressing the nation again to announce more measures to stop the spread of the virus.
Let us not panic, but let us be careful. Together, we can win this fight.
The People’s Republic of China on Tuesday (31st March, 2020) donated assorted medical supplies to the Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Disaster Management Affairs and Public Events.
Speaking at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, when he officially presented the donation, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Liu Hongyang, said his country felt obliged to make a timely donation to Malawi.
“Malawi has not registered a Covid-19 case but has put restrictive measures aimed at preventing the outbreak of the disease. We are in full support of the measures and as a people, we felt obliged to make this donation. China was the first country to be hit by Coronavirus and we know what it means to be hit by a deadly disease.
“We have made a donation of 1,000 protective face masks, 500 disposable medical protective clothing, 300 infrared thermometers, 480 protective medical goggles, 500 pairs of sterilized surgical gloves and 500 pairs of medical isolation shoes. This [donation] is not enough but it will make a difference during this prevention period,” said Hongyang.
Hongyang, who advised Malawians to observe social distance at all costs, added that his government will continue providing support to the Malawi Government in the wake of the Covid-19 threat.
In his remarks, Minister of Disaster Management Affairs and Public Events Everton Herbert Chimulirenji commended the People’s Republic of China for the timely donation.
“The Government of Malawi is leaving no stone unturned in preventing the outbreak of the disease in the country. The donation uplifts the effort in preventing the outbreak of the virus in the country. Government of Malawi appreciates the financial and technical support the People’s Republic of China renders to Malawi, in disaster risk management and all developmental aspects.
“As a people, we are optimistic that your government will continue assisting Malawi, financially and technically, in the prevention of Covid-19 following strides your government has made in the fight against the pandemic,” said Chimulirenji.