Latest situation, resources and support in Malawi

The situation in Malawi

Malawi has experienced four main waves of Covid to date. The first peaked in July 2020, the second and worst on 25th January 2021, the third on 25th July 2021 and the most recent on the 26th December 2021.

Official total Covid-attributed deaths, at under 3,000, look extremely low for a country of 19 million, compared to Europe and elsewhere. This may be due to demography (with a median age of 17), climate, vitamin D or a predominantly outdoor life. However, it is important to note that there has not comparable levels of testing in Malawi and it seems very unlikely that official mortality figures convey the full impact of the virus in Malawi.

For example, on the 25th January 2021 the SMP organised its 11th Covid Coordination Zoom meeting, with the Scottish Parliament’s Malawi Cross Party Group, the UK Parliament’s Malawi All-Party Parliamentary Group, Malawi’s Minister of Health, Scotland’s International Development Minister, and 250 mostly Malawian and Scottish stakeholders. All six Malawian speakers on the agenda had had close colleagues and friends die of covid in the previous ten days, one had just been discharged from hospital with Covid, and another could not take part as they had just contracted Covid. Many fear that the official Covid death figures very significantly under-represent prevalence, community transmission and mortality.

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, Malawi

It is not possible for the SMP to keep this page updated as often as we like, so we encourage readers to visit:

Malawi, like countries throughout the region, lags very significantly behind nations like Scotland in terms of vaccine roll-out.

There were initially high levels of vaccine hesitancy which, combined with the short shelf-life of doses donated through Covax, meant Malawi had to destroy some 20,000 doses. However, all indications suggest such hesitancy has greatly reduced with, overwhelmingly, the rate limiting factor being the number of vaccine doses in the country and the challenge of distributing these to rural and remote areas.

We join Malawi in calling for an equitable global distribution of vaccines. No one is safe until everyone is safe.

We welcome the UK Government’s donations to Covax but we think this is still far, far too little. We worry about a world in which the affluent global north is vaccinated and our friends in the global south are not. This is simply not acceptable.


With our thanks to SMP member Dr Tracy Morse, we are delighted to share a range of key Covid-19 resources from Malawi. CLICK HERE to download.

Included here are:

We also thank SMP members Ripple Africa for sharing their excellent Coronavirus posters, which all members are welcome to use, in English, Chichewa, Chitonga and Tumbuka. Our thanks to Kate James.

And thank you to Tiyamike Sewing for this excellent animated video in Chichewa about how to prevent transmission through social distancing, hand washing etc.

The UK FCO has regularly updated information for UK nationals in Malawi in their Malawi travel advice, including how to return to the UK and support for those staying in Malawi.

Working with our members and partners across Malawi and Scotland, we will continue to share key Malawi Covid-19 resources. If you have a resource you feel should usefully be shared here, please email

Animated video in Chichewa about how to prevent transmission through social distancing, hand washing etc - by Kenyawi Kids.