Decision on school reopening to be made next week

The Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus says a decision will be made next week on whether to reopen schools or not as Coronavirus cases continue to rise with 802 cases recorded over the past two weeks.

Chairperson of the taskforce John Phuka noted in a statement on Thursday that the rise in cases calls for preventive and containment measures although there have been calls for the reopening of schools

“I would like to remind everyone that a review will be done next week when we will determine whether schools can open or not,” said Phuka.

Former President Peter Mutharika closed schools in March as part of restrictions to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. Malawi recorded its first cases on April 2.

Between May and June, political parties held campaign rallies ahead of the June 23 Presidential Elections where Lazarus Chakwera was elected president.

Phuka in his statement said cases are now rising fast with 802 recorded since June 18 compared to 600 in the first 77 days from 2 April to 18 June.

“Taken together, it means the number of cases is rising extremely fast and we have community transmission,” he said.

Malawi has recorded 1402 cases including 16 deaths. Of these cases, 640 are imported infections and 696 are locally transmitted while 67 are still under investigation.

Cumulatively, 317 cases have now recovered bringing the total number of active cases to 1069.

The average age of the cases is 33.9 years, the youngest case is aged 1 month, the oldest is 78 years and 68% are male.

The country has so far conducted 15,176 COVID-19 tests in 39 COVID-19 testing sites.