President Peter Mutharika has urged Malawians to “unite and stand steadfast” to stop the spread of coronavirus as confirmed cases in the country stand at four, saying many countries are struggling, many people are suffering and many are dying across the world.
Mutharika said this on Saturday evening during a special address to the nation that the government would do whatever it takes to beat the deadly virus.
But Mutharika urged that the outbreak should not be politicised, saying: “This is an attack we must all fight. Either we unite and fight, or we perish!”
The President pointed out that Coronavirus is a public health problem, also an economic threat and a social problem.
“I know that everyone is worried but I also know that we can survive this problem if we unite and fight,” said Mutharika.
He thanked every Malawian who has been complying with the preventive measures which government has put in place, saying prevention is wiser than cure.
“We are encouraging every Malawian to observe strict rules of hygiene, including frequent washing of hands with soap and wearing masks,” he said.
President Mutharika said government is increasing the number of testing centres in various parts of the country over and above the three laboratories the country has; the National Health Reference Laboratory in Lilongwe, College of Medicine Laboratory and the Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust in Blantyre.
The Malawi leader announced new curbs on life in the country to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
“In order to decongest work places, all offices shall work in shifts with the exception of those working in essential services,” announced Mutharika.
In the public sector, Mutharika said the Chief Secretary to the Government will issue a circular to provide guidelines while for the private and other sectors, the heads of institutions shall liaise with the Secretary responsible for Labour for guidelines.
“All formal meetings, gatherings and conferences are suspended forthwith,” Mutharika announced.
He also said all places, buildings and structures with public access shall ensure that there is adequate ventilation during all periods the public has access to those places, buildings and structures.
The President also disclosed that all employers shall allow vulnerable employees, including those with underlying medical conditions, to work from or stay at home.
In order to decongest the overpopulation in the country’s prisons, President Mutharika has directed the Malawi Prison Services and Juvenile Centres to present a list of prisoners and juveniles who committed “petty offences” and those who have served a significant portion of their sentences for moderate crimes to the Minister of Homeland Security for processing of their release.
“I am further directing all affected line Ministries and Local Councils to ensure that they have consulted and engaged their stakeholders such as vendors, market leaders, religious leaders, chiefs and the private sector to agree on sector specific measures and submit them to the Cabinet Committee for my approval within the next 72 hours,” said Mutharika.
The President said “more comprehensive measures may be imposed”.
The virus that emerged in Wuhan, China, last December has spread to at least 179 countries and territories with a global death toll of over 40,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :