Malawi has new Covid strain from South Africa – Chakwera


President Lazarus Chakwera says Malawi has the new Covid-19 which was first recorded in South Africa.

Chakwera revealed this during a national address broadcast from Kamuzu Palace on Sunday night.

“It has been confirmed that the new strain of the virus from South Africa is indeed here in Malawi. This confirms that we were right to treat this new wave with the seriousness it demanded,” said Chakwera.

He said the revelation is a result of a breakthrough Malawi has made in its laboratory capabilities. According to Chakwera, scientists at the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust lab at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital have the capacity to sequence the virus that causes Covid-19.

He added that Malawi Government has partnered the African and United States Centre for Disease Control to bring the same capacity to the national public health laboratory in Lilongwe.

“Being able to sequence the virus will reduce our reliance on labs in South Africa for that service,” said Chakwera.

During the address, Chakwera also revealed that Malawi has secured doses of vaccine which will arrive in February and will be rolled out in March.

Since the pandemic began, Malawi has recorded 23,963 cases including 702 deaths. Of these cases, 1,953 are imported infections and 22,010 are locally transmitted. Cumulatively, 8,615 cases have now recovered.