Six COVID-19 patients in Mangochi escape isolation centre

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By  Kondwani Magombo

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Mangochi, Mangochi District Health Office (DHO) has issued an alert to the public in the district as six Covid-19 confirmed patients returning from South Africa are on loose after they escaped from isolation centre.

Director of Health and Social Services (DHSS) for Mangochi, Dr Henry Chibowa, sounded the warning Tuesday in the DHO’s daily updates on Covid-19.

He said as of July 14, 2020, the district had registered ten new cases of Covid-19 with nine imported cases and one locally transmitted and that the whereabouts of six were positive returnees were not known.

Chibowa said five buses carrying Malawians returning from South Africa were handled at Machinga Teachers’ Training College where 58 cases were confirmed positive and that Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) had arranged their transport to their districts through their respective DHOs.

The DHSS said out of nine patients that were identified for Mangochi, only three arrived at the DHO.

“The other six absconded from Machinga TTC and they did not arrive with the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) TATA vehicle on Monday,” Chibowa said in the update shared on various fora of the Council. 

He added: “It is therefore only prudent to assume that they’re walking among us and this puts everyone, especially their close associations, at risk. Be assured that our team is investigating vigorously to locate them and ensure they are under isolation.”

According to Chibowa, the rate of local transmission was increasing in the district, and nationwide, whether one was in contact with a returnee or not.

“Everyone you meet is a suspect that can possibly give you Covid-19. You, yourself, are a suspect that can give another person Covid-19. This is why we would like to appeal to everyone to wear a face mask to cover mouth and nose at all times; observe adequate social distance and wash or disinfect hands regularly and before entering any premises,” he advised.

Mangochi has 94 confirmed cases with 58 active cases and 36 recoveries, according to Chibowa’s update.

In terms of transmission, the district has 64 imported cases and 30 local cases.

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