Government eases Covid-19 restrictions as cases decline, night clubs to close at 11 PM

The Malawi government has announced that following a sharp decrease in Covid-19 cases, it has softened some restrictions imposed to deter widespread infections.

Addressing journalists in Lilongwe on Friday, October 8, 2021, Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said that having moved to level 1 of the pandemic, as measured by the steadily declining Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country, in addition to the general public health measures, which must be strictly observed and enforced, no country or region is currently classified as high-risk.

Minister Kandodo Chiponda

“Therefore, there is no restriction for travel into Malawi as long as inbound travellers produce a negative PCR based Covid test Certificate that is no older than 72 hours on the day of arrival into the country.

The minister also said that limitations for workplaces have been lifted to normal office capacity subject to observance of recommended general public health preventive measures, especially use of face masks, frequent washing of hands, use of sanitizers and social distancing, and frequent disinfection of offices.

Limitations on public transport carriage have been lifted to normal capacity of the vehicle; limitations on gatherings (cultural, religious, political, social-cultural, sport, recreational and hospitality events) have been relaxed as follows, with a proviso to strongly recommend demand for vaccination certificates and to offer Covid-19 vaccinations at the venue of the events, especially at games, political rallies, and cultural gatherings; 50 percent gathering in the venue for indoor events, with a maximum of 500 persons; 2,000 persons for outdoor events, subject to mandatory observance of recommended general public health preventive measures, especially use of face masks, frequent washing of hands, use of sanitizers and social distancing; night curfew has been adjusted to run from 12 midnight to 0600 hours in the morning.

Consequently, bottle stores, bars and restaurants must close by 11pm to allow staff to travel back to their homes before the curfew kicks in.

Flanked by Secretary for Health, Dr. Charles Mwansambo, and Co-Chair Person of Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus, Dr. Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma, among others, the minister said the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus, working with the Emergency Operation Centre on Covid-19 (EOC), continues to closely monitor the trend of the pandemic in the country.

“I have called this press conference to announce that on the basis of the available data, we are now at level 1 of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country as classified in the Public Health (Corona Virus and Covid-19) (Prevention, Containment and Management) (Amendment) (No3) Rules, 2021. This is good news, and the positive strides can be attributed to the collaborative efforts of all Malawians towards the fight.

“I must emphasize that our behaviours in the Covid-19 fight are key to success or failure, as we have observed that as more people relax in adhering to the recommended preventive and containment measures, such as travel, failure to mask and to adhere to physical distancing policies, the more we have been recording an increased number of new cases, those admitted in treatment units and those dying from the disease. And this has been true during the past three waves of the pandemic in our country,” she said.

Kandodo Chiponda said now that the cases are declining, people still need to continue to adhere to the preventive and containment measures in order to reduce further and stop the spread of the virus amidst us to avoid further disruptions to our social and economic lives due to the pandemic.

“At a general level, we need to strictly adhere to the proper wearing of masks, observing physical/social distancing and stepping up our handwashing practices and getting vaccinated for those that are aged 18 years and above,” she said.

According to the minister, there is adequate stocks of Covid-19 vaccines in all vaccination sites and appealed to who received a single dose of AstraZeneca and are due for the second dose to get their second dose so that they are fully vaccinated, and those that have never received any Covid-19 vaccine to utilize the opportunity to go get vaccinated.

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