MALAWI. Lilongwe: Head of Malawi’s Presidential Taskforce of COVID-19 has told the country’s citizens not to bank their hopes on the pandemic’s vaccine, warning that it may take time to benefit the southern African country.
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Dr John Phuka who co-chairs the committee together with the country’s Health Minister, Khumbidze Kandondo Chiponda made the warning in a press briefing held in the capital Lilongwe.
“Let us for now keep adhering to the laid down preventive measures like social distancing and wearing masks,” said Phuka, a medic by profession.
He added that it may take almost 3 years for every ordinary Malawians to access the vaccine.
A surge in cases
Malawi has been hit with what can be called a second wave of the pandemic with over 867 cases registered from 11 December last year to 4 January 2021.
During the second wave, young people below the age of 30 have died since the first fatality of COVID-19 was registered in April last year.
Borders to remain close
Malawi’s borders, according to Health Minister Chiponda will remain closed. They will be open only to suppliers of essential services. Only Malawi Nationals returning home will be allowed entry on land sea and airports. But she added that “a certificate of COVID-19 negative test has to be produced before entry”.
Gatherings of more than 100 people were banned in November last year. However, a group of musicians obtained a court injunction stopping the regulations’ enforcement. The musicians later withdrew the injunction.
Sporting activities affected
Football, the country’s most popular sport has been badly hit. Almost eleven players for Nyasa Big Bullets, the country’s most successful club, tested positive.
This forced football authorities to cancel a derby match with the team’s archrivals Mighty Wanderers.
Be Forward, a Japanese car exporter had to cancel sponsorship with Wanderers due to financial losses related to COVID-19.
Malawi has seen 199 deaths, 7110 cases as of January 5. 88,638 tests have been conducted. Of the cases, 948 were still active.