Malawians have taken up in various social media platforms to give differing opinions about the lockdown from Saturday midnight due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But most people Nyasa Times spoke to on the streets of Lilongwe and Blantyre said while they were expecting difficult days ahead, the situation warranted drastic measures.
Some Malawians said the lockdown was overdue to control the spread of the virus pandemic while others think it will hurt the poor who live from day to day, reliant on earning cash in the market to buy food, saying a few days’ curfew is the difference between poverty and starvation.
Writing on her Facebook wall, Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma says Malawi has now 16 confirmed cases and that said the next three weeks lockdown would be tough, but worth it..
“There are probably 100+ more of unknown cases which are happily mingling with people and further spreading the infection to others.
“This being the case, lockdown isolates those who are already infected and prevents them from infecting others and others and others and so on,” she says.
She says lockdown isolates those who are not infected by preventing them from getting in contact with the infected.
“In the end, lockdown cuts off the supply of customers Coronavirus, evidently stopping the path of destruction. Let’s remember that self quarantine has failed miserably as those who were asked to do this have not been obeying,” she said.
While many were aware of the lockdown, they did not quite have details on how exactly their movement would be restricted.
Government was set to gazette the full list of who will exempted from the lockdown.
Enless Muheziwa who has been surviving on income she gets from selling dry wood after she exhausted the two bags of maize she harvested this year from her garden, told Voice of America (VOA) that although she appreciates the need to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, the lockdown seems too severe..
A single mother of three children is among thousands of farmers affected by armyworms this year, in Mulanje district in southern Malawi.
“It will be too difficult for us people in the villages to have money at once that can sustain us for three weeks. I survive on selling dry wood. So now instead of dying of the disease we will now die of hunger,” she told VOA.
Muheziwa suggests it would be better if government delivers food items to families in need like hers.
As others worry about the lockdown, Rose Chisowa an agro-based trader in Lilongwe sees an opportunity.
Chisowa, a supplier of agricultural products across Lilongwe city, believes she will among other suppliers to be exempted from the lockdown.
She said, “Of course we will make a lot of money because many people will stop going to markets and rely on us to deliver the food items right in their homes and we will take up the risks. So it is good for us farmers.”
President Peter Mutharika said Tuesday that the 21-day national lockdown could be extended beyond mid-night 9th May depending on trends.
Announcing the nationwide lockdown Tuesday night, Health Minister Jappie Mhango said the measure is aimed to curtail the spread of COVID-19 which he said would kill about 50,000 people in the country if left uncontrolled.
“Except for enforcement officers, no person shall be allowed to leave their homes unless they are listed under Rule 11(3)(a)(i) of the Public Health Rules 2020,” he said.
Others exempted include persons delivering essential services, like food, drugs and utilities.
The lockdown also calls for the closure of all main markets across the country.
However, Mhango said communities will be allowed to sell and buy commodities at local markets and shops that will be allowed to open between 6 am and 2 pm.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :