LACK OF COVID-19 PROTECTIVE KITS WORRIES IMMIGRATION OFFICERS

Date:

Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services officers working in Malawi’s border posts risk contracting the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) as they work without protective gears.

Immigration Department spokesperson Joseph Chauwa confirmed that most officers in the country’s border posts have no protective wear.

He attributed the situation to shortage of resources. 

Chauwa said the department requested Ministry of Health for gloves and facemasks, among other protective gear, but the ministry did not provide enough for all border posts.

He said: “So what we did was to distribute in airports and main border posts like Mwanza, Mchinji, Dedza and Songwe. So, yes, for now the protective gear are not adequate, but we are still engaging well-wishers to support us and also looking at how we can procure some on our own.”

Chauwa acknowledged that the situation is putting their officers at risk, but said the department has implemented preventive measures to avoid infection among officers.

“We have suspended collecting of fingerprints. The only data we are capturing now are details of passports and passport-size. The fingerprints are very important, but looking at the situation now, we had to suspend that,” he explained. 

An immigration officer at Chiponde, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed fear of contracting coronavirus, whose cases have been confirmed in neighbouring Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa.

He claimed the situation has forced most officers to abscond from duties. 

In a separate interview, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) spokesperson Steve Kapoloma said the tax authority started distributing protective gear to its customs officers last week and it is also holding sensitisation meetings with staff on Covid-19.

Meanwhile, health rights activist George Jobe has warned that protection of health workers and those handling people in the country’s borders is important, saying anyone coming into the country should be considered a Covid-19 threat.

Jobe, who is also Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director, said immigration officers need protective gears to protect themselves first, before protecting the country.

The deadly coronavirus has so far infected over 400 000 people and killed about 13 000 people globally.

So far, Covid-19 has spread to 44 African countries, including neighbouring Tanzania and Zambia as well as main regional trading partner South Africa. Malawi is yet to have a confirmed case.

(Visited 36 times, 1 visits today)
Leonard Tenson
Email: info@faceofmalawi.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Featured Video

click to play

Popular

More like this
Related

Ndirande Police recovers 8 motor vehicles, suspect arrested

Police at Ndirande in Blantyre have recovered 8 motor...

Couple Go Viral For Having A Simple Wedding (+PHOTOS)

A lovely interracial couple have gone viral after their...

See What This Girl Showed While Recording A TikTok Video

A JHS Girl who was filming a TikTok video...

Teacher Caught On Camera Doing This With His Female Student

Mvondo Njock Eric, a teacher, was fired from a...