October 27, 2021

News24.com | Malawi cracks down on ‘alarming’ virus surge

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Medical staff treat a patient at a Covid-19 intensive care unit.

Medical staff treat a patient at a Covid-19 intensive care unit.

  • Over the past four weeks, Malawi has reported over 4 000 coronavirus cases and 143 deaths.
  • The country has unveiled newly gazetted regulations to limit the spread of coronavirus.
  • Among other restrictions, public gathering have been banned.

Malawi on Sunday shut bars and churches in new restrictions to limit the “alarming” spread of coronavirus, three months after a court blocked the government from imposing a full lockdown.

Since the first positive case was detected on 2 April, confirmed cases have nearly doubled over the past four weeks to hit over 4 624, including 143 deaths as of Saturday.

Malawi had not been placed under a lockdown after a court in April blocked the government from enforcing a full lockdown because it had failed to announce any measures to cushion the vulnerable.

Attorney general Chikosa Silungwe on Sunday unveiled newly-gazetted regulations to curb the spread of the virus.

Wearing of face masks will now be mandatory.

All public gatherings, including at bars and religious centres have been banned.

ALSO READ | Malawi court indefinitely bars virus lockdown

Bars will only be allowed to sell take-out alcohol.

No groups of more than 10 people are allowed, except for funerals with a maximum of 50 people.

Silungwe said an “army of enforcement officers” had been hired to ensure the regulations were followed.

New Information Minister Gospel Kazako said numbers of coronavirus cases “are rising at an alarming rate”.

“The problem is big and we must all stand up. Covid-19 is here and killing people,” he said Sunday.

Experts had as far back as May sounded the alarm while the country focused on election campaigns, attracting tens of thousands to rallies in the absence of a lockdown.

“Because of the political climate, we had been left to face the unmitigated impact of this pandemic. Even though it has taken long, it is a very essential and necessary measure,” said Gama Bandawe, a virologist at the Malawi University of Science and Technology.

President Lazarus Chakwera last month won a historic vote re-run after Arthur Mutharika’s re-election was scrapped over rigging.

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