Govt bows to faith community demands, airports to open on Sept 1

Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda

Government has finally bowed down to demands by the country’s faith community and given them a go ahead to allow their gatherings to be at 100.

This followed a request by faith leaders that the numbers attending church and mosques should be reviewed from the recently gazetted 10 people per gathering.

The restriction from government got a backlash from the faith groups who viewed it as a move to stop them from congregating and a measure aimed at destroying believer’s corporate fellowship which is core to the growth and enormity of the church.

A letter signed by Reverends from three CCAP Synods described the new coronavirus public health prevention management and containment rules as an ambush to the church and a way of closing down faith based institutions.

Following consultative meetings with the concerned parties, on Thursday night Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda reversed government’s decision considering that the number of public engagements allowed could not be feasible in some circumstances.

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Some of the members of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 captured in this file photo by Lisa Kadango

“We also received similar concerns from other sectors of the society. Looking at the response from the society and to allow for experts views on the best number for public gatherings if the disease continues to rise; our Taskforce agreed that we continue to allow public gathering to be at 100

”This takes into account that there will be increased Wearing of Face Mask, Washing of hands and Watching the social distance.

“The Faith groups have promised to support the government in promoting these measures. It is with this trust that Church gatherings will be allowed to be up to 100 people,” said Chiponda.

She however hinted that experts will continue to assess the spread and impact of the disease and upon their guidance; the new number will be communicated accordingly to them.

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Chileka and other airports in the country are expected to become busy again

Chiponda indicated that the faith groups have reaffirmed their commitment in government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 and are already implementing the stipulated measures in the gazetted rules.

In a related development, the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 has agreed to consider the opening of the country’s airport on 1st September 2020.

According to Chiponda, the Ministries of Transport and Health are working to ensure that it is very safe for Malawians as aeroplanes start to fly into Malawi.

The Presidential Taskforce continues to monitor the situation for the other affected sectors.