Minister of Health, Jappies Mhango, chairing he Special Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus (Covid-19) has outlined a range of new tough measures to ensure enforcement of the lockdown effective at midnight on Saturday, including restricting the movement of people in order to minimize the spread of the virus.
Mhango told a news conference on Thursday that
that he decalred a lockdown in exercise of the powers under Rule 11 of the Public Health (Corona Virus Prevention, Containment and Management) Rules 2020.
He said in light of the lockdown declaration all drinking joints, cultural festivals and weddings are banned during the 21-days lockdown up to May 9 2020.
Meetings of more than 10 people will be prohibited and that hotels will have room services only.
He also said religious gatherings will be allowed with not more than 10 people.
On funerals, the Minister of Health said people should follow all funeral arrangements as provided with not more than 50 people present who will also be observing social distancing.
“In this case, observation of Covid-19 sanitary and hygienic measures is a requirement at all funerals. Funeral ceremonies shall be conducted in the shortest time possible,” said Mhango.
The minister said the public transport – minibuses, tricycles, taxis, bicycles and motorcycles and taxis – will only be allowed primarily to offer services to essential services staff and cater for emergencies from 5am to 9.am in the mornings, and from 4pm to 7pm in the evenings.
“No public transport vehicle shall be allowed to loiter or linger around for passengers outside these hours,” said Mhango.
The minister said air transport services remain suspended with the exception of supplies for essential goods and services and returning passengers.
In all cases, air transport services shall be offered with prior arrangements with the Minister.
Locomotive passenger transport shall be allowed to operate between Liwonde and Nayuchi only.
However, locomotive goods transport shall continue operating without any restrictions but shall follow Covid-19 sanitary and hygienic measures.
Water transport services will only operate between Nkhatabay and Likoma.
Construction works are suspended except under the following conditions:
- A camp is provided at the construction site for construction workers so that the workers are isolated from the public during the lockdown;
- Where a camp is not provided for on site, transport is provided for workers to travel from a camp to the construction site; or
- The works involve the operation of a single operator machine or plant at the construction site.
The minister said harvesting of crops will be allowed within prescribed hours and with strict observance of sanitary and hygienic conditions.
Grazing of livestock is also allowed within prescribed hours and with strict observance of sanitary and hygienic conditions.
Maize mills will also be operating within prescribed hours and with strict observance of sanitary and hygienic conditions.
Mhango said marketing of agricultural products including tobacco auction floors will go on as normal.
The minister said the lockdown measures shall be enforced by Malawi Defence Force, the police and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services shall be deployed to ensure strict compliance.
He also said the Local Councils remain empowered under the Public Health Act to commence civil and criminal proceedings in order to enforce the measures prescribed under these Rules.
Malawi has, so far, 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus, mostly from individuals who arrived in the country from India, United Kingdom and elsewhere. Two deaths associated with COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, have been registered to date.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :