UNHCR confirms 1st Covid-19 cases at Dzaleka refugee camp

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The country’s largest refugee camp, Dzaleka Refugee Camp, in Dowa, has registered first coronavirus cases since the outbreak of the virus in the country.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced the first confirmed cases of Covid-19 in a district with a total of five known cases since Sunday June 15.

UNHCR Country representative for Malawi Fatima Mohammed says the three were identified in a group of 23 asylum seekers who have just arrived. The whole group is under observation.

Asylum seekers continue to enter Malawi despite closure of borders against human traffic as a measure to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

“Every time we have new asylum seekers, we keep them at the reception center and monitor them for 14 days,” says Mohammed.

She was speaking Tuesday in Dowa district during the official opening of the Dzaleka Refugee Camp quarantine, isolation and treatment centre.

Secretary for Homeland Security, Harry Kanjewe, says his ministry is working with the ministry of Health to ensure that asylum seekers and all people entering the country get tested for Coronavirus before they integrate.

The new centre has a 50-bed patient care capacity. Dzaleka Refugee Camp, which is the only permanent refugee camp in Malawi, keeps over 40,000 refugees and asylum seekers the majority of them from Ethiopia, Burundi, Somalia, the DRC and Rwanda.

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Edgar Naitha
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