Govt justifies easing of COVID-19 restrictions

Passengers boarding a flight at KIA

Travelers from high risk countries who were previously expected to go on mandatory institutional quarantine for 14 days can now breathe a sigh of relief following government’s lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

As it stands, everybody is allowed to travel to Malawi by road or air but will still need to produce a COVID negative certificate within 72 hours upon arrival at any point of entry.

Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 Chairperson Khumbize Chiponda justified the move which she stated was arrived at after assessing the country’s data, regionally and from surrounding countries.

With a positivity rate of about 11 percent, the situation is looking much better hence easing of the restrictions to allow tourists to visit for the country’s economic benefit.

“We are getting into summer, this is the time in which our tourism industries they profit from this season of summer because a lot of people would want to come in to go to the Lake just to enjoy our country, to enjoy our scenery. We have to consider these as well so that is why we made a decision to say yes the disease is still there, the threat is still there but at least let’s just re-enforce the measures of wearing of mask, social distancing, hand-washing but also lets encourage people to get the vaccine as well as it has proven that it’s one of the measures which would prevent people from getting very sick

“So we considered all those indicators and then we made a decision. So for now, we’ve said for travel anybody can come into Malawi, we’re no longer restricting anybody, they can come into Malawi as long as they have a COVID negative certificate” she said

Chiponda: We’re no longer restricting anybody, they can come into Malawi as long as they have a COVID negative certificate

Meanwhile, the country has over the weekend received 160, 800 doses of AstraZeneca and Chiponda urged those who only received the first jab, to go for the next one.

Malawi is administering Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines concurrently.

For the herd immunity to be achieved, about 11 million people need to be vaccinated which she admitted is a tall order making sure that Malawi reaches a point where all the vaccines are utilized.

On fears the shots may expire looking at the numbers of people receiving the jab, she was confident this will not happen.

vaccines arrival
A UNICEF file footage of Covid-19 vaccine arrival

“The good thing is most Malawians they have accepted that the vaccine is good for them and I know at least there is scramble for the vaccines to the point that we’ll reach a point where they are going to finish before they get them, but now it has stabilized so we’re vaccinating about 10, 000 to 15, 000 people every day”.

Aware that people walk long distances to get to hospitals and to make sure that it’s accessible, Ministry of Health is working together with the local government in taking the vaccine to the people.

As of 29th August Malawi has registered 32 new COVID-19 cases, 234 new recoveries and four new deaths

A total of 877,951 vaccine doses have been administered in the country so far.