On this page you can find weekly updates of the Coronavirus in Malawi.

Online updates 

Online you can check the daily updates about the Coronavirus in Malawi: 


Weekly updates

NEWS - June 3

  • Between 23 to 30 may 2020, Malawi received 1,280 returnees from neighboring countries mostly South Africa, and more are expected to arrive over the next few weeks. Out of 585 returnees who arrived on 26 May and had their samples collected, 147 tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The National planning taskforce on the possible re-opening of schools, colleges and universities has recommended to the Presidential Taskfore on Coronavirus, that all schools, Colleges and Universities be re-opened on 13 July, 2020 with specific details and conditions for the re-opening to be announced later after the Taskforce has finalized the consultations.
  • UNICEF has oriented a total of 8,521 District Nutrition Officers and community members, local leaders, promoters and nutrition cluster members on COVID-19 preventive measures in 10 out of 28 districts of Malawi (Unicef Malawi, 2020).

NEWS - June 1 

The Refugee Journalism Project contacted three journalists who live in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi - one of the poorest countries in the world - and invited them to help tell the grassroots story of how this global pandemic is affecting those living on the fringes.

At the time of writing, the government's lockdown plans have been put on hold indefinitely by the Malawian high court. However the fear that COVID-19 will eventually shut people off from access to food, water or help still exists.

From talking to the journalists and going through the material they produced, the overwhelming feeling is one of powerlessness and resignation. Many say that they are failing to feed their families and suffering from hunger.

As Malawian law prevents refugees and asylum seekers from seeking employment, the camp's population is mostly unable to earn a living. There are two ways residents can earn extra money: to start a business if they are lucky to have the money to invest, or by working as a volunteer in return for a stipend. This leaves the majority of Dzaleka's population highly dependent on charities. With the virus affecting the entire globe, some inhabitants worry that the donors and organisations will turn away from Dzaleka, leaving the camp without its life-sustaining resources.

Hunger has always been a problem in Dzaleka. It has only got more dramatic when monthly rations were halved recently. In total, the monthly hand-out food now contains about 4,300 calories, less than an average adult needs for two days.

Despite the official guideline being "keep your distance", people still attend gatherings. Churches continue to be a significant part of the social life of Dzaleka. The service, alongside practising one's faith, also provides an important channel in reaching the camp's population.

Pastors emphasise the need for hand-washing and social distancing. In a climate where many of the population rely on news forwarded by online groups, coming together at church might play a crucial role in preventing the spread.

In an attempt to fight misinformation, the camp's own media organisations are working to show the dangers of COVID-19. By sourcing information on the situation around the world, they hope they will make the camp's community adhere to the recommended measures to avoid the death toll reaching the heights of Europe or the USA.

Strict adherence to prevention tactics is crucial: should the virus hit the camp, it is unclear how effectively its spread can be prevented.

Improvised sinks for hand-washing have been implemented but many residents use their water rations for cooking, washing and cleaning, skipping the extra hand-washing. Medical services, despite being there, have always been sparse, as well as access to drugs.

Testing procedures for COVID-19 are chaotic and new arrivals are greeted with a general suspicion over whether they are bringing in the virus. New arrivals, for their part, are afraid of the 14-day isolation that requires them to spend the time in tents with strangers (RJP, 2020).

NEWS - May 15

Malawi's presidential campaign is in full swing despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

As soon as the country's Supreme Court of Appeal cleared the last hurdle on the road to the 2 july presidential election, campaigns were intensified with total disregard of measures prescribed by health experts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, crowds gathered around opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera in the streets of the capital Lilongwe, to celebrate the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal to uphold the annulment, for fraud, of Peter Mutharika's re-election in 2019.

From public meetings, publicity caravans and door-to-door visits - the electoral frenzy is in full swing throughout the country, as if the novel coronavirus pandemic did not exist.

"Of course it's important to protect yourself from Covid-19," says Jacqueline Banda, one of Peter Mutharika's faithful followers. "But this country is in crisis and we have to win this election. And the only way to do that is to mobilize en masse for the president".

"Has the coronavirus really reached Malawi? I doubt it," stated Thoko Namitowa, who is running for the opposition. "If it had, there would be deaths everywhere," she added. "I think the government is padding out the numbers to derail the election. So I keep going to the rallies, because I know that in Malawi the coronavirus is very political...".

Indeed, while the pandemic has stirred the sacred union reflexes of most of its neighbours, it's also fuelled some very partisan fights in Malawi (Africa News, 2020).

NEWS - May 10

Announcement for the Team of Christian his own business (Christian is one of our contact person's)

! First Positive COVID Case in Mangochi!
Indeed, as earlier announced by the Minister of Health, we now have a COVID Case in Mangochi.

Details of first positive COVID Case

  • Age: 26
  • Sex: Female 
  • Location: Malukula Village, T/A Chowe, Mangochi
  • Risk factor: History of travel to RSA (Claims in January but period is too long, so we are still investigating more on possible index case within the district). Hers was one of the samples we collected on 7 may.

The patient is stable and will thus be managed in the community as per protocol. She had 8 contacts including one health worker at the facility. Samples have since been collected for testing. The health worker is now under self-isolation as per guidelines. We are making arrangements to cover the gap so that services are not interrupted as facility. 

Cumulative Statistics for the District:

  • Total samples collected: 20 
  • Samples tested: 12 
  • Negatives: 11 
  • positives: 1

The 8 new samples will be sent to College of Medicine Laboratory in BT first thing tomorrow morning.

To the team:
Team, we all knew this day of our first case would come. It was almost inevitable. What is important now is to continue our vigilant efforts to prevent rapid spread of the virus in our district.
Let's continue the teamwork. Let's stay safe. We'll manage this. 

NEWS - May 8

  • 13 new cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours
  • 1231 Tests have been conducted to date
  • 183 people transporting essential goods and services have entered the country in the past 24 hours.
  • On December 2019, the World Health Organization was alerted of several cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei province of China. Later the disease was named Coronavirus disease-19. World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 12th March 2020. 
  • On 20 March 2020, COVID-19 was declared a national disaster in Malawi, and on 2 April 2020, we registered our first cases of COVID-19. His excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika gave a press briefing to inform the nation.

Laboratory testing

Currently, there are nine COVID-19 testing sites in the country; the National Health Reference laboratory (NHRL) in Lilongwe, College of Medicine (COM) laboratory, and Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust (MLW) in Blantyre, Mzuzu Central Hospital laboratory, Mzimba south district hospital laboratory, Balaka Dream laboratory in Balaka, Zomba Central Hospital laboratory, Thyolo district hospital laboratory and Nsanje district hospital laboratory. As of 8 May 2020, a total of 1231 samples have been tested, with 56 positive results and 48 pending results. Table 4 below shows the breakdown of tests done by each laboratory.

Clinical case management

  • 38 active cases are being managed as outpatients and are under self-isolation
  • 1 case is institutionalized
  • Mangochi case is symptomatic but stable
  • Cumulatively 14 cases have now recovered and 3 have died
  • 5 health care works in Blantyre have tested positive (Africa News, 2020).

NEWS - April 29

Malawi President announces new measures against Coronavirus
BLANTRYE, MALAWI - Malawi's president has proposed new safety measures against the coronavirus, which has infected 36 people in Malawi and caused three deaths. The president is offering cash payments to the poor to help them survive a proposed lockdown, and to persuade vendors to close shops. But vendors, who protested plans for the lockdown two weeks ago, say the payments would be too small.

In a televised national address, President Peter Mutharika said the government will make cash payments to support Malawians who normally depend on the markets for their livelihood.

He said the government will target a minimum of 172,000 households, representing an estimated 35 percent of the urban population.

"Each identified household will be paid electronically through mobile payments, K35, 000 per month and the amount is based on the prevailing government minimum wage rate," said Mutharika.

The payments are equivalent to about $50 per month, and would last for six months.

The proposal is in response to demands from vendors and rights activists who two weeks ago protested the government's proposed 21-day lockdown.

The lockdown never went into effect following the street protests and an injunction by the nation's High Court.

Chancy Widoni is the chairperson at Ndirande Market in Blantyre. He told VOA by telephone that the proposed payments are too small.

He says, we cannot expect the government to give each one of us what we earn per day. But, he adds, the amount announced is too small to sustain us for 21 days. It would have been better if they increased to payments to K50,000. We can be sourcing the additional amount on our own.

Betchani Tchereni, a lecturer in economics at the University of Malawi, says expanded testing would be a better solution to the crisis the country is facing.

He spoke to VOA by telephone.

"In fact, the universal testing can be the best, that everyone should be tested," said Tchereni. "Where people have been tested and have been found to be positive with a virus, then they should be quarantined somewhere. Because if we do a universal testing, then a lot of people will be quarantined, we may not even need a lockdown."

The president said registration for the payments would begin next month. There has been no word on when the payments would start, and whether markets in the major cities may close down (Masina, 2020).

NEWS - April 7

Malawi reports first Coronavirus death
Malawi announced its first coronavirus death on Tuesday as well as three additional cases, bringing the tally of infections to eight in one of the last countries in Africa to report the disease.

Health Minister Jappie Mhango said the victim was a 51-year-old woman who had recently travelled to Britain and had an underlying medical condition.

She died in Blantyre, Malawi's second city and political capital.

"Our fifth patient to test positive from COVID-19 has sadly passed on in the early hours of this morning," Mhango told reporters.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to World Bank figures, more than half of the 17 million population lives below the poverty line.

President Peter Mutharika declared a state of emergency on March 23 to combat the virus, closing schools until further notice.

He has since announced the opening of new testing centers for COVID-19 and the recruitment by the health ministry of 2,000 extra staff.

Over the weekend, Mutharika said he would cut his own salary and the wages of his ministers to help fund the fight against coronavirus (The Jakarta Post, 2020).

NEWS - March 20

A speech of the president of Malawi to inform the population

Declaration of State of Disaster by Malawi President Peter Mutharika

Due to the threat of coronavirus and the urgent need to seriously manage it, I have decided to declare ' State of Disaster' in the country.

Fellow Malawians

As most of you are aware, the world is experiencing a new health threat through the emergence of a new type of Coronavirus also called COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared coronavirus a pandemic (a disease affecting the whole world). So far, we know that the virus can be transmitted between human beings, and that its incubation period takes 2 to 10 days from infection with the virus, to the onset of symptoms. Common symptoms of the Corona virus infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat and,
  • Difficulty in breathing

At present, no specific Off-the-Counter treatment or vaccine for Corona virus is available.

What hospitals can do is to support patients by relieving the symptoms while their bodies fight the infection naturally.

As we take every precaution, we must maintain our hope because according to health experts, 97% of patients infected by the Corona virus get well after medical interventions.

In the absence of vaccine and an Off-the-Counter treatment, raising awareness of the risk factors for the coronavirus infection and protective measures individuals can take is the only way to reduce human infection and death.

There are two myths that we need to be careful of about Corona virus:

  • That black people are immune to the disease
  • That the warm climate of Africa is protective against the virus

I strongly advise that you should disregard these myths and follow precautionary measures.

My fellow Malawians,

While scientists are conducting research to understand the virus better, my government on advice from our health experts is recommending the following precautionary measures.

  • Washing of hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
  • Stop handshakes
  • Maintain social distance with people;
  • Stop touching eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Practice cough hygiene by covering mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing;
  • Seek medical care whenever feeling unwell;

My Government, in the light of technical guidance from the World Health Organization, is implementing activities in preparation of the coronavirus outbreak.

The aim of these activities is to prevent coronavirus from being transmitted into Malawi and also to prepare the country to handle any case should a coronavirus case be diagnosed.

Among many interventions;

  • Government has developed a Response Plan. The total budget for this plan is about MK15 billion which is equivalent to US$20 million.
  • My Government has provided MK2.5 billion as immediate funding towards the Response Plan.
  • My Government appreciates the technical and financial support from development partners such as World Health Organization, Centre for Disease Control, Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunization, Department for International Development (DfID) through UNICEF and the Global Fund have provided towards the coronavirus.
  • Despite my Government commitment and all donor support, there is still a gap. I, therefore, appeal for more support from the private sector and international community.
  • We are screening for Coronavirus on all travelers arriving in Malawi through our borders and International Airports.
  • Government is collaborating with WHO which is continuously monitoring the outbreak situation in all affected countries in order to guide our response.

My fellow Malawians,

At this juncture, I would like to assure the nation that the Malawi Government is doing everything possible to ensure that Coronavirus does not come into country.

Due to the threat of Coronavirus and the urgent need to seriously manage it, I have decided to declare ' State of Disaster' in the country.

Consequently, Government is putting the following measures;

  • Ministry of Health and Population is redeploying health personnel in all border posts and continue screening and surveillance of people in all entry points;
  • Government has suspended hosting of international meetings and banned public servants from attending both regional and international meetings being hosted by affected countries. The ban has been extended to all people travelling on other government related activities such as sports;
  • My Government is advising the general public to avoid non-essential travel to the affected countries;
  • My Government has directed that all schools, colleges (including technical colleges), both public and private universities should be closed by Monday , 23rd March, 2020;
  • My Government is restricting public gatherings to less than 100 people forthwith. This restriction applies to all gatherings including weddings, funerals, church, congregations,rallies, government meetings etc; The national security apparatus has being ordered into action to enforce these restrictions.
  • My Government has banned travel of foreign nationals from countries highly affected by coronavirus disease. However, SADC countries are exempted. Returning residents and nationals from coronavirus affected countries will be subjected to self or institutional quarantine;
  • Government will continue to monitor and review the situation and the restrictions from time to time within the next 30 days;
  • My Government has temporarily suspended issuance of visa to citizens of countries highly affected by coronavirus;
  • My Government will continue to provide updates on the disease and the restrictions imposed.

My government is aware that some of the interventions being implemented have a negative bearing on people's right to enjoy some of their human rights enshrined in our Constitution such as the right to assemble, the right to movement, and the right to participate in economic activities.

My government is hoping that in pursuance of the greater national good, we will be able to reasonably limit such rights within what is attainable in our Constitutional framework.

It is my sincere hope that my colleagues on the political divide will take their appetite to politicize the fight against Corona Virus. I have noted some unfortune remarks from some political leaders on the fight against Corona virus. I hope it was just a temporary error of judgment. Corona Virus is not a joking matter.

The coronavirus threat demands that we all join hands and pull in one direction for us to win. Let's not politicize it.

Let me also speak to individuals that are using the Corona virus threat and the social media for political reasons and to express their personal hate. Stop creating panic. Stop spreading rumours on the virus. Your actions are frustrating the fight against the Corona Virus. Love your county. Be humane.

Spiritually, I call upon all Malawians of different denominations and faiths to turn to God in times of fear and uncertainty as we do in times of joy and celebration.

Let's join together as we pray for God's heart of love, mercy, and truth to dwell in us and show us how to face the challenges posed by coronavirus.

Let's find comfort in God's word from 2 Chronicles 7:14... and it reads....

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land''.

We should not panic. Let us all unite in Prayer of faith to a God that answers prayer. With spiritual grace and scientific resilience, together, we shall overcome this epidemic.

In conclusion, Malawi realizes that we are in a global world where the impact of coronavirus can spill-over within the region and beyond.

Therefore, I would like to reiterate my appeal to the private sector, development partners and you my fellow citizens for more support towards the fight against coronavirus and its impact on the economy.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you (Mutharika, 2020).


Africa News. (2020, mei 15). Malawi's presidential campaign amid virus. Opgehaald van Africa News: https://www.africanews.com/2020/05/15/malawi-s-presidential-campaign-amid-virus/

Masina, L. (2020, april 29). Malawi President Announces New Measures Against Coronavirus. Opgehaald van VOA news: https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/malawi-president-announces-new-measures-against-coronavirus

Mutharika, A. P. (2020, maart 20). Declaration of State of Disaster. Opgehaald van United Nations Malawi: https://malawi.un.org/en/46778-declaration-state-disaster-malawi-president-peter-mutharika

RJP. (2020, juni 1). I'm afraid of the disease but mostly of dying from hunger. Opgehaald van The Refugee Journalism Project: https://www.refugeejournalismproject.org/2020/06/01/im-afraid-of-the-disease-but-mostly-of-dying-from-hunger/

The Jakarta Post. (2020, april 7). Malawi reports first coronavirus death. Opgehaald van TheJakartaPost: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/04/07/spain-to-speed-up-roll-out-of-basic-income-due-to-virus-.html

Unicef Malawi. (2020, juni 1). COVID-19 Situation Report. Opgehaald van Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/malawi/media/2906/file/UNICEF Malawi COVID-19 Situation Report 28 May - 3 June.pdf

International Aid & Development - COVID-19
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