Malawi is not testing coronavirus suspected cases at all its hospitals including major referral hospitals like Kamuzu and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospitals, the Ministry of Health has said.
In an interview with Malawi24, the Ministry of Health said all suspected cases are done at the national lab.
“All tests are done at our national lab,” the Ministry’s spokesperson, Joshua Malango, told Malawi24. He added that this is “the standard practice everywhere in the world”.
Malango also described as fake news that the country has had a Covid-19 patient after renowned social commentator, Onjezani Kenani, had posted that a person had died of the virus at the Blantyre Adventist Hospital. Kenani has so far deleted his post.
Other commentators are of the view that there are cases in the country but the testing process is making it nearly impossible to efficiently test people.
Similarly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that there are probably undetected or unreported cases in sub-Saharan Africa countries which include Malawi.
Head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that the current number of 233 coronavirus infections is likely not a true reflection of the full picture of COVID-19 cases in Africa.
“We cannot take this number as a true reflection. Probably we have undetected cases or unreported cases” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during yesterday’s COVID-19 daily press briefing.
More than two hundred thousand cases have been documented worldwide. The virus has killed more than 8,700 people globally.
Malawi’s neighbouring counties, Zambia and Tanzania, have both registered Covid-19 cases.
South Africa, a destination for most Malawians, is leading in Sub-Saharan African with 116 cases.
As the coronavirus begins to spread locally with Sub-Saharan Africa recording COVID-19 death, WHO issued a strong warning to African countries to “prepare for the worst”. Across the whole African region, 12 people have died of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Malawi is currently imposing a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for anyone travelling from countries with over one thousand cases. The country has put over 550 people on follow up.