Covid bites: Government announces stricter measures

Covid bites: Government announces stricter measures

The Malawi government on Wednesday, 7th July, announced new set of restrictions following an upsurge in Covid 19 cases and deaths, as the country experiences a third wave of the pandemic.

Minister of health Khumbize Chiponda made the announcements during a media briefing at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe in the company of Dr Charles Mwansambo who is secretary for health, and Dr Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma co-chair of the covid taskforce, among others.

In her presentation Chiponda said that government through health experts has been monitoring the trend of the pandemic and have since seen an increase in confirmed cases, admissions and deaths since 1st June 20201. Thus from available data, government has noted that covid is on the surge again, signaling the dawn of the third wave of the pandemic experienced by many countries world over including southern African countries of South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.

Government has therefore pronounced new containment measures of the pandemic while making sure that both government and any other business moves on.

“our experts have worked tirelessly to come up with alert levels and thresholds for each level so as to provide guidance on the measures to be instituted at each level. The alert levels have been categorized in 5 levels with one having the least number of cases and level five having an increased surge of cases, admissions and deaths. Based on that I would like to say we are on level three of the response. In this level there are a number of rules and regulations that are supposed to be reinforced.” Said Chiponda.

Chiponda went to read out all the regulations that have been put in place based on their categories among which are; working in shift to avoid congestion in offices, those that are at high risk to work from home, no physical meetings, business places to reduce capacity by 50%, vending to be done in fixed positions, temperature screening and use of hand sanitizer, mandatory earing of masks by travelers and transport operators, curfew on travel from 10 pm to 6 Am, travel to high risk countries is not allowed, all travelers to Malawi to adhere to government restriction rules, a valid negative PCR test will be needed to come to Malawi, 14 day institutional quarantine upon arrival in the country, church services should not exceed one hour with congregants wearing masks and to use sanitizers, capacity in churches to be halved, sports activities to have not more than 100 in attendance with no spectators, weddings to take less than 1 hour, funerals to take less than 1 hours with vigils banned, burial to take place within 48 hours. There are also regulations for education institutions where hygiene and frequent tests are encouraged. Political meetings and rallies have been banned too.

The minister called the press to help in disseminating the information to the general public.

Chiponda said that the regulations have been necessitated and are backed by concrete data since from June 1 to July 6, the country has recorded 3,032 new cases, 62 deaths and 99admissions into the treatment units.

The Covid 19 pandemic began in China and then spread world over. Currently, there have been vaccination drives across the globe so as to curb the spread of the virus. Malawi currently has no available stocks of the AstraZeneca vaccine which it is administering. In the 2021 -2022 national budget, government has allocated funds meant to buy doses of the vaccine and for other related activities in the fight against the virus.