Malawi Has New Covid-19 "Indian" Variant--Health Official

It has been confirmed that the country has the new variant of the Coronavirus--from India--after some of the samples that were sent for diagnosis at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in South Africa tested positive.

Malawi sent 600 samples to the Centre over a month ago for determination on the possibility of a new variant, and the country has been waiting ever since.

The Ministry of Health had to send the sampled after some Indian nationalities working as expatriates at the Salima Sugar Factory had tested positive, posing fears of a third wave that had just started tearing the Indian subcontinent then.

'New Variant'

A top official at the Ministry of Health confided in the press on Thursday after the arrival of the results that "some of the samples tested positive of the new variant."

According to the official, who demanded maximum anonymity, said "it is important that we start putting our house in order, especially by observing COVID-19 preventive measures that we have relaxed upon."

He also said that it was time government and stakeholders began pushing people so that they go for the second phase of AstraZeneca vaccination which rolls out on Friday June 3.

The public relations team at MoH has said it would be issuing a statement on the same soon.

Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, has meanwhile urged Malawians to go for the vaccine "in large numbers."

'Delayed'

According to Nyasa Times' findings the results were expected to arrive in the country on May 27, but it was still hazy on when the results would be available.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health (MoH), Dr. Charles Mwansambo, had confirmed two weeks ago on the samples not being in the country but had made an assurance that they would be "available in the next few days."

So far, Malawi has registered 34 346 cases of Covid-19 with 32 621 recoveries. 1 156 deaths have been registered.

Health expert, George Jobe, of the Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) had warned there would be a massive record of cases if a third wave hit the country, citing the "reluctance of most people to go for the AstraZeneca vaccine is frightening."

More From: Nyasa Times

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