Malawi Still Safe From Covid-19 but Uncharted Routes a Threat

29 March 2020

The Director General of Immigration and Citizenship Services, Masauko Medi, has urged immigration officers in the country to institute intensive patrols and seal off uncharted routes in the country's bordering districts as a measure of containing the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.

Immigration staff told to be vigilant in borders

Malawi is still safe from Covid-19, which has claimed 0ver 23000 lives globally.

But the southern African nation's neighbours Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have confirmed cases of the deadly virus.

Speaking during a visit to Mchinji/Mwami Zambia border on Friday as part of his tour in the entry and exit points across the country to appreciate Covid-19 prevention preparedness, Medi observed most of the people use uncharted routes when entering and going outside Malawi which poses a threat in the face of Covid-19.

"This is not the time to do office work, we should go out and monitor our borders to ensure that we do not import the disease," he said.

Medi, however, said his office has submitted a comprehensive plan to government through the department of disaster and risk management lobbying for funding to procure additional protective materials to be used in border posts.

He added ":Also within our budgetary provision, we are procuring some materials and yesterday we received a new consignment of protective materials, the distribution has already reached our borders."

During the tour Medi handed over assorted items such as sanitizers and hand washing materials among others to be used by people entering and exiting the country.

On Tuesday the Ministers of Health, Information and Home Land Security made a surprise visit to Mchinji/Mwami Zambia border to check the preparedness of the district in Coronavirus prevention.

Mchinji district is bordered with Zambia and Mozambique. Zambia has so far recorded 12 COVID-19 cases.

In a related development, speaking on the sidelines of a coronavirus sensitization meeting which was organized by Malawi Red Cross at Motel Domwe in Dedza on Thursday, Immigration Sub Inspector Chilungamo Kapulula said a good number of people are using uncharted routes which is jeopardizing efforts to screen people before they enter the country.

"Although we have set up measures to screen people upon arrival at the border, we have noted that some unscrupulous individuals have been using illegal routes to enter the country without being tested for the virus at our borders," he said.

He said entering the country without being screened was very dangerous, because it might be possible that some of these individuals are carriers of the virus and may end up infecting others.

Kapulula hailed Malawi Red Cross for drilling point of entry officials on the standard operating procedures for the surveillance of coronavirus saying borders are very crucial in combating this disease.

Deputy Director of Clinical Services in the Ministry of Health Dr Kaponda Masiye said to curb the spread of the disease, points of entry into Malawi need to be watched vigilantly in the identification of probable COVID-19 patients.

"Basically border officials should be vigilant in identifying people especially those coming from COVID-19 affected countries so that they should be screened properly and where necessary isolated as a means to control the spread of the virus," Masiye said.

According to Masiye, upon entry into Malawi, all passengers will be required to issue traveler health identification forms and their temperature readings will be taken whilst screening for other symptoms like coughing, difficulty breathing, sore throat and runny nose.

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