SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS
Overall, food security improved in Round 10 compared to the previous three rounds (November 2020 to February 2021), as shown by an increase in the proportion of households classified as having acceptable food consumption. This is linked to the ongoing consumption of the green harvest coupled with the influx of humanitarian assistance that is targeting a large portion of the food insecure population.
The proportion of households who are employing the most severe consumption-based coping strategies has decreased significantly in the current round of monitoring compared to the previous three rounds.
Reported access to markets increased in rural areas in Round 10 compared to the previous round. In urban areas, there was a decrease in market access. This could be attributed to residents avoiding marketplaces following the rapid occurrence of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of households reporting that at least one member of their family had a fever in the past two weeks decreased this round, while those with cough had increased compared to the last round. This is in line with seasonal trends due to the rainy season but could also be reflective of the widespread COVID-19 positive cases.
The number of COVID-19 positive cases in the country started to decline in the month of February 2021, with an estimated reduction of 63 percent during the latter half of the month and a positivity rate that remained unchanged at 16 percent. The State of National Disaster that was declared on the 12th of January 2021 was still in place despite a reduction in the number of new COVID-19 cases, to prevent a third wave which might emerge if preventive measures do not continue to be followed. If the downward trend continues, some businesses may slowly return to normal. However, retail businesses may take some time to pick up again, as they are mostly dependent on imports from other countries, including South Africa, where the situation and subsequent lockdowns remained tenuous.
On the 5th of March, Malawi received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses, which marked a milestone for Malawi in the fight against the pandemic. The Government identified priority groups that are among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine including health care workers working in both the public and private sectors, the police, immigration officials, the Malawi Defence Force, teachers, prison wardens, prisoners, citizens above 60 years of age, and people with underlying medical conditions.