Speech by Co-Chair of Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Minister of Health, Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, M.P. on 9th August, 2020 at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe
We all need to treat everyone that you meet as a potential carrier of the virus and we need to strictly follow all the preventive measures wholesomely.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning, let me join the director of ceremonies to welcome you all to this press conference which has been organized in order to inform the public on the new public health measures that have been set up to help to stop the spread of the COVID-19 in our country. The COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading across the globe including our country disrupting our daily lives in all aspects i.e. physically, emotionally, economically, spiritually and socially.
Let me remind the public that corona virus is primarily transmitted between people via respiratory droplets and contact routes. Droplet transmission occurs when a person is in close contact (within 1 metre) with an infected person and exposure to potentially infective respiratory droplets occurs, for example, through coughing, sneezing or very close personal contact resulting in the inoculation of entry portals such as the mouth, nose or eyes. In order to win this fight against COVID-19 we need to stop the human to human transmission of the disease.
Globally as of 8th August 2020, 19,187,943 cases have been confirmed and 716,075 deaths have been reported. Africa has surpassed one million cases as of 7th August. In our country, as of 8th August we have recorded 4,624 cases including 143 deaths bring the case fatality rate to 3.1%. Of these cases, 1,031 are imported infections and 3,593 are locally transmitted. Cumulatively, 2,329 cases have now recovered bringing the total number of active cases to 2,152 and our recovery rate is 50% bring hope that we can win this fight. The average age of the cases is 36.7 years, the youngest case being aged 1 month, the oldest being 93 years old and 66.8% of these cases are male. The country has so far conducted 34,443 COVID-19 tests in 45 COVID-19 testing sites.
Members of the press, ladies and gentlemen, let me point it out that as a country we are still losing productive citizens due to COVID-19 disease and many more are getting infected on daily basis. Beyond the statistics, if we put human face to the people that we have lost, these are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives and husbands that we have lost due to COVID-19. In order to stop the spread of coronavirus in our midst we need to collectively practice preventive and containment measures. Our daily decisions should be aimed at stopping the virus from spreading and causing more damage on our lives.
Let me also remind the public that COVID-19 is often more severe in older people and/or those that have health conditions like lung or heart disease, diabetes (sugar disease), hypertension (high BP), TB and HIV, asthma or conditions that affect their immune system. It is important ensure that the chronic condition you live with is under control; this means ensuring you are regularly taking medication for diabetes (sugar disease), hypertension (high BP), HIV, TB and asthma. If you are at high risk stay at home, practice preventive measures to minimize your risk of infection and if you are not at high risk, do your part to prevent the spread of coronavirus to those who are. Let us protect the vulnerable populations.
The government is doing everything possible to ensure that we stop the spread of the disease in stopped in our country. Several interventions have been put in place including surveillance and contact tracing, case management, logistics and supplies, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement, screening of travelers at the point of entries, and increasing laboratory capacity to ensure that COVID-19 testing is available across the country.
At the rate that COVID-19 is spreading in our communities, we all need to treat everyone that you meet as a potential carrier of the virus and we need to strictly follow all the preventive measures wholesomely. The fight of COVID-19 requires that everyone has to be involved. The public is reminded of the following preventive measures;
Preventive measures for severe COVID-19:
1. Get screened for chronic conditions; this means getting checked if you have diseases such as diabetes (sugar disease), hypertension (high BP), TB and HIV.
2. Ensure the chronic condition you live with is under control; this means ensuring you are regularly taking medication for diabetes (sugar disease), hypertension (high BP), HIV, TB and asthma.
General preventive measures “Three Ws” or “3W”:
1. Watch your distance.
2. Wash your hands.
3. Wear your mask.
At this point, members of the press, let me ask my fellow co-chair if he has anything to add and also to ask to request the Hon Attorney General to highlight the new public health measures as outlined in the “The Public Health Corona Virus and COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Management rules, 2020” which has just been gazetted.
I THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ATTENTION!