Vice-President Saulos Chilima has been censured over his remarks on that it is safe for members of the opposition Tonse Alliance to hug each other and not contract infectious diseases, contrary to health advice on novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
“If you see someone wearing MCP or UTM or PP regalia, hug them, you can’t infect each other with disease,” said the country’s estranged Vice-President in a televised political campaign rally on Sunday.
Chilima, who is UTM Party president and running mate to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera, was speaking when he addressed Tonse Alliance rally at Likuni Boys Secondary School ground in Lilongwe.
But health commentators cautioned that the message was wrong, stressing that basic infection control measures in the wake of coronavirus means social distancing, practise good hygiene.
A celebrated writer and commentator Stanley Onjezani Kenani writing on his Facebook said coronavirus is real and political leaders need to take lead in encouraging their supporters to adhere to practices that can reduce or impede its spread.
“It was also contrary to the advice the Vice President gave Malawians in a video clip he released end February, urging people to wash hands, avoid close contact and touching their faces.
“That (the February video) was the correct path he took, and he would do well to stay on it,” wrote Kenani.
He, nonetheless, urged political supporters not to regard political leaders as incapable of making mistakes.
“They are human, and we would help them by pointing out the mistakes they make. Only that way can we build a better Malawi,” he added.
Health commentators have urged Chilima to revisit his message on Covid-19 on people hugging rest he be Covidiot – a person who can’t quite grasp the measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Malawi has so far recorded 70 cases of the virus pandemic since the first case was reported on April 2 2020.
Giving a status update to the media in Mzuzu on Sunday evening Minister of Health Jappie Mhango said five new cases have been recorded.
They comprise two each in Blantyre and Lilongwe and one in Zomba.
Mhango said Malawi has so far tested 1 841 samples with 70 confirmed cases and 17 pending results.
Of the 70, three died, 27 have recovered and 40 are still under the management of healthcare workers, but are stable, according to the Minister.
With the new cases, Lilongwe remains the hot spot with 28, Blantyre 18, Thyolo nine cases and NkhataBay five.
On the other hand, Mzuzu has three cases, Zomba two and one each in Chikwawa, Nkhotakota, Karonga, Mangochi and Mulanje.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :