Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised Malawians to take preventive measures like self quarantine and using hand sanitisation seriously saying it might not be long before a coronavirus case is registered in the country.
Chief of health services Dr Charles Mwansambo said this on the backdrop of the public going into a frenzy after the South African government closed off schools and banned public gathering of over 100 people.
Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) led by Malawian Prophet Shepherd Bushiri which hosts thousands of congregants at its churches in the Rainbow nation has also decided to close down due to the eminent threat.
There have been calls for Malawi government to follow suit and limit public gatherings as some countries where the virus has not yet been registered such as Zimbabwe and Botswana have done so.
Mwansambo said Malawi is yet to register a case but highlighted it is following up on close to 120 people.
He said it would premature to cordon off public meetings in the country emphasising they are closely monitoring what is happening in neighbouring countries.
“For now, the preventives are working. We have close to 120 people that we are following some of whom they have already discharged so we hoping that the prevention measures in place suffice for now but we also need to get ready for the time when we have our first case.
"We have seen on social media talk about reducing social distance, stopping handshakes and so forth, this I would not stop Malawians from doing,” he said.
Last week, former Minister of Health Jappie Mhango who was chairperson of the committee on coronavirus before President Peter Mutharika fired him and the rest of the cabinet said despite government not instituting restrictions, Malawians should stop crowding in placed like sports events and other places because they do not know where the next person has been to.
He also said despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) not calling for travel and trade restrictions it was advisable for people not to travel to COVID-19 prone countries unless they ought to.