• The number of new COVID-19 cases in Malawi continues to increase steadily with 417 new cases recorded since 22 June representing a 49 per cent increase.
• School re-opening guidelines were launched on 24 June 2020 by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID 19. The taskforce’s proposed date of reopening of schools is 13 of July 2020.
However, a review will be made in two weeks’ time before the actual opening in view of the increasing number of cases being experienced in the country.
• With UNICEF support, psychological first aid was provided to 43 returnees from South Africa at Machinga Teachers Training College returnee holding centre.
• As of 24 June, mQuarantine (a UNICEF supported COVID-19 quarantine management solution) has 3,784 unique and active users, allowing persons under quarantine and suspicion to report their symptoms to health workers via SMS technology in (near-to) real-time.
• With a new government now in place following the presidential elections that took place on 23 June, there is a possibility of changes in the Presidential Task Force membership and mode of operation. UNICEF, in close collaboration with the UNCT, is preparing for high level advocacy with the incoming leadership, including cabinet members.
As of 29 June 2020, 1,224 cases have been confirmed representing an increase of 44 per cent since 22 June. Of the 1,224 cases, 636 are imported infections, 551 are locally transmitted while 37 are still under investigation. Cumulatively, 260 cases have now recovered bringing the total number of active cases to 950. As of 29 June, some 260 people had recovered while 14 deaths had been recorded.
Recently, Malawi has been receiving returnees and deportees from other countries, mainly South Africa. During the reporting period, an additional 729 (312 females and 417 males) travellers entered the country. Upon entry, they are tested for COVID-19, if positive they are put under institutional isolation until safe transfer to their destination district has been arranged. Those tested negative proceed to their destination for self-quarantine and follow up by respective district health authorities. Screening of all returnees at the points of entry such as Mwanza, Kamuzu International Airport and Songwe for temperature and other symptoms is ongoing after which the returnees are moved to a holding centre for the collection of samples and testing. UNICEF continues to support the returnees through provision of clean water, sanitation facilities, personnel protective equipment and screening including provision of overnight allowances to laboratory staff as well as transportation of samples.
Testing capacity continues to expand, and laboratory tests have been carried out on 13,918 samples at 43 laboratories (14 RT-PCR and 29 GeneXpert). Two additional testing centres that are using GeneXpert technology were added during the reporting period.