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 centres 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.