Seven Malawians, who were among 14 passengers denied entry to South Africa on Wednesday due to fears of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, have been quarantined.
Health officials have said this is a preventive measure against the spread of Covid 19 which is rife in most African countries, South Africa inclusive.
The denial of entry came about as South Africa is in a lockdown.
Upon arrival at Chileka International Airport, the seven Malawians underwent normal screening procedures and were later recommended for quarantine.
Blantyre District Health Office Public Relations Officer, Chrissy Banda, said the quarantine of the seven is procedural.
“It is our procedure to prevent the spread of the disease to quarantine those people who were in countries already infected by the disease. So, as we all know, South Africa is among the countries which have registered cases and confirmed deaths from the Covid-19; hence, it is important that we quarantine them,” she said.
Covid-19 broke out last year in Wuhan, China, and globally, more than 7,000 people have died from the disease.
So far, no case has been registered in Malawi.
Meanwhile, the Department of Immigration has suspended physical issuance of visas to all countries.
The department’s Director General, Masauko Medi, said all visa applications should be processed online.
“As you are aware, Covid-19 is an imported disease; it has no origins here….the suspension includes those who started the processes before the announcement of the state of disaster by the President,” Medi said.
Last week, President Peter Mutharika declared the state of disaster thereby restricting gatherings to less than 100 people at one place and closure of schools.