The Malawi government has resolved to ban with immediate effect, all but essential arrivals and travel from three South Eastern Asian countries namely, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, and those that have resided in these countries for at least the previous seven days.
The decision made by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 indicated the only exceptions are for diplomatic and medical travel of nationals or non-nationals and that the same restriction has also been extended to Brazil.
In a COVID-19 update on Monday, Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda justified the move as a way of preventing the importation of a third wave of the pandemic into Malawi.
“The Taskforce also noted with concern the threat of importation of new variants of the virus from other regions and countries of the world, notably from Bangladesh, Brazil, India, and Pakistan, where a new wave of the pandemic is currently spreading with severe morbidity and mortality impact.
“The taskforce further noted the particular heavy traffic of travellers to and from the Indian sub-continent and neighbouring Countries of Bangladesh and Pakistan; and evidence of a COVID-19 positive case that arrived in the country from India in the past week,” disclosed Chiponda.
She explained that those coming to Malawi from the stated countries must have a negative PCR-based COVD-19 test result or certificate for a test conducted not more than 72 hours before arrival in Malawi.
Upon arrival, they will be tested again to ascertain their status and will undergo an institutional 14-day quarantine where there will be tight security, regardless of whether they test negative or positive.
The Health Minister further said those undertaking essential travel to and from these countries, shall be required to undergo mandatory institutional quarantine at designated hotel accommodation at their own cost on arrival into the country.
The Presidential Unit will periodically review the situation of the epidemic in South East Asia and advise accordingly.
As of 26th April, Malawi has registered five new cases, 13 new recoveries and no new deaths.