Government has launched a K157 billion preparedness and response plan to combat the spread of Covid-19, a strand of coronavirus.
Minister of Health Jappie Mhango, who is also the chairperson for Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19, launched the plan at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
Mhango, who was flanked by Minister of Disaster Management Affairs, Everton Chimulirenji and other members of the Special Cabinet Committe on Covid-19, said the K157 billion will be disbursed in 10 sectors that include coordinating structures, communication and health.
The launch of the response plan comes after President Peter Mutharika announced that he has set out a stimulus package to help cushion the economic impact of the disease.
Mutharika announced a number of measures aimed at cushioning small- and medium-sized businesses, including tax breaks, a reduction in fuel prices and an increase in risk allowances for health workers.
Amongst other measures, the President directed the Reserve Bank of Malawi to allow banks to offer a three-month moratorium on interest payments on loans to small- and medium-sized businesses.
The President also directed the central bank to “cushion the foreign exchange market to ensure availability of forex and stability of the foreign exchange rate,” and work on an emergency liquidity assistance framework to support banks in the event of worsening liquidity conditions.
The government will also increase loans under the Malawi Enterprise Development Fund that will help micro, small and medium scale businesses that have been seriously affected by the pandemic to 15 billion Malawi kwacha ($20.69 million) from 12 billion kwacha.
Mutharika declared a state of national disaster for Covid-19.
There is no lockdown but schools are closed and the government says it is urging people to work from home and follow hand-washing and social-distancing guidelines.
All social gatherings of more than 100 people, such as funerals, church services and political rallies, have been banned.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :