Malawi has registered four Covid-19 deaths in 11 days out of 219 cases reported, statistics from the Public Health Institute of Malawi show.
In a statement issued on Monday, the institute says currently, 13 cases are admitted to the country’s treatment units.
The situation has ignited calls from health experts for the country to continue observing preventive measures and lobbying people to get vaccinated against the infection.
In an interview on Tuesday, public health expert Dr Titus Divala advised the Ministry of Health to ensure that people who are at high risk of getting serious illness such as the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses are vaccinated against Covid-19.
He said the Omicron variant, which is dominant now, rarely causes severe illness and most people have immunity after suffering from the disease several times.
Said Divala: “This and the vaccine are some of the factors that mark the difference between the number of cases recorded now and the number of cases recorded last year during the corresponding period.
“We are in a new wave, but it has coincided with decreased testing and a variant with low severity.”
However, he bemoaned people’s attitude towards the pandemic, saying it is important to remember that some may still experience severe illness.
Malawi University of Science and Technology microbiologist Gama Bandawe said the Covid-19 pandemic has become seasonal in Malawi, appearing twice a year, in the middle of the year when it is cold and towards the end of the year at the onset of the rainy season.
He said the rise in cases has been triggered by the Omicron virus BA4 and BA5 reported in South Africa and other Northern Hemisphere countries.
“We need to be vigilant, get vaccinated and follow preventive measures.
“The virus is seasonal and it has become a trend that twice a year we face new waves,” he said.
In an earlier interview, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda acknowledged challenges in Covid-19 vaccination, saying Malawians, particularly those aged between 12 and 17, are not coming forth to get vaccinated.
“Vaccination continues to be administered steadily although not at the desired pace. Our biggest drawback is the 12-17 years age cohort which is delaying to access the Pfizer vaccine,” she said.
As of Monday, the country had cumulatively recorded 86 750 cases and 2 649 deaths.