COVID-19: Strict measures back as cases surpass 2,000

Dr John Phuka
  • Govt suspends mass gatherings, mobile markets 

  • Pushes for mandatory face masks

Government has with immediate effect announced new strict measures aimed at containing further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Malawi.

The development follows surging cases of local transmission that have reached 1,347 against imported cases which stand at 722 as of Friday July 10, 2020.

Among others the government has banned mobile markets, street vending, weddings and cultural events, while religious gatherings will only be allowed if the congregants put on face masks and praying on an open ground where social distance is observed.

A man gets tested for COVID-19 after returning from South Africa
A man gets tested for COVID-19 after returning from South Africa

In a statement released on Friday, Co-Chairperson of Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Dr. John Phuka, further says busy and congested places like markets will be fumigated every week.

"Today is another worrisome day in our fight against COVID-19. The total number of cases has passed 2000 and sadly, the number we have lost to untimely death has passed 30. Therefore, on behalf of the Government, I am announcing strategies that will enhance our fight against this pandemic.

"Government adopted and published measures contained in the Public Health (Corona Virus Containment, Prevention and Management) Rules, 2020 in order to ensure that local councils are empowered to enforce the measures under the Rules," says Dr. Phuka.

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 2,069 cases including 31 deaths, while  379 cases have now recovered bringing the total number of active cases to 1659.

President Lazarus Chakwera recently ruled out the possibly of locking down the country to fight the pandemic saying his government will use other means of containing the situation.

Meanwhile, Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) has warned that only those that will wear face masks will be allowed to enter the banking facilities.

"BAM encourages all bank customes to use the digital banking platforms available and visit the banking if it is extremely important to do so," reads in part the statement dated July 10, 2020.

Health activist, Maziko Matemba, has hailed efforts aimed at promoting usage of face masks saying it will help to stop further spread of the pandemic.

"The spread of COVID-19 is real now and the cases as of today we have more than 2000 cases which shows the spread is going too fast that government  need to come in quickly to stop it or else more people  will be affected. The use of face masks need  to be mandetory and I am glad stakeholders have started the advocacy on mandatory masks as a measure to stop the spread," says Matemba.