The worst cholera outbreak to affect Malawi in two decades has now claimed 750 lives, a government minister said, while the World Health Organization chief described the southeast African country as among the hardest-hit amid ongoing global epidemics that are "more widespread and deadly than normal."
Malawi’s Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda on Thursday ordered the closure of many businesses that lack safe water, toilets and hygienic refuse disposal facilities, and announced restrictions on the sale of pre-cooked food.
"We continue to record rising number of cases across the country, despite signs of reduced transmission and deaths in a few areas," Chiponda said in a statement, and urged adherence to sanitation and hygiene measures.
On Wednesday, Chiponda said 17 people had died from 589 new cases of the waterborne disease "in the past 24 hours." She said the country has recorded 22,759 cases since the onset of the outbreak in March last year.
Figures show that about 15 people have been dying daily in recent days, with 155 deaths recorded in the past 10 days. Nearly 1,000 people were hospitalized as of Wednesday.