Phuka condemns stigma against Coronavirus patients, survivors

Co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus John Phuka has condemned stigma against COVID-19 patients, survivors and families of victims.

In a statement on Sunday, Phuka said there are reports of increased cases of stigma and discrimination towards those that have COVID-19 disease, those that have recovered and their immediate families as well as those that have lost their loved ones.

“I would like to request those that are doing this to stop immediately. This is affecting openness among carriers that may reduce implementation of effective preventive behavior,” he said.

On Sunday, Phuka announced 45 new COVID-19 cases, five new recoveries, and three new deaths. He said two of the new deaths are from Blantyre and one is from Dowa.

Of the new cases, 42 are locally transmitted infections and three are imported infections identified among 34 returning Malawians.

Nineteen of the locally transmitted infections are from Blantyre, 15 from Lilongwe, two each from Chikwawa, Mulanje and Zomba, and one each from Mzimba North and Mzimba South. The imported cases are from Lilongwe, Mangochi, and Mzimba South.

Malawi has recorded a total of 4,231 cases including 123 deaths. Of these cases, 996 are imported infections and 3,235 are locally transmitted.

Cumulatively, 1,919 cases have now recovered bringing the total number of active cases to 2,189.

The country has so far conducted 31,302 COVID-19 tests in 39 COVID-19 testing sites.

Phuka has since urged people in the country to practise social and physical distance of not less than 1 metre, to wear masks and to wash hands in order to fight the pandemic.