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A new way of travelling: Adjusting to life in a pandemic

COVID-19 Screening centre erected at Chileka Airport for passenger screening. Photo credit: WFP/Tawonga Ngoma

A health official inspects COVID-19 certificate presented by in-bound passengers at Chileka Airport. Photo credit: WFP / Tawonga Ngoma

Tawonga Ng’oma, UN World Food Programme

What do you think of carrying whenever you have to travel? Luggage of course, a passport and your travel documents but never a mask or a health certificate.

As COVID-19 wreaked havoc across the world, countries were forced to slow down and take caution to prevent further spread in their territories.

In September 2020, the Government announced gradual reopening of schools and resumption of commercial flights in line with guidelines outlined by the Ministry of Health.

To support safe reopening of borders, the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund and the Government of Iceland through the World Food Programme (WFP), supported the Government of Malawi with facilities for screening and isolating in-bound passengers at points of entry into the country.

Health officials use these spaces as facilities for screening passengers for COVID-19 negative certificates and mandatory body temperature checks.

Head of Mission for the Government of Iceland in Malawi, Inga Dora Petursdottir emphasized the importance of adhering to preventive measures: “Malawians should continue observing COVID‐19 measures recommended by the World Health Organization to combat the pandemic.

No country is ready for another wave of COVID-19 because no one can predict when the pandemic will restart or end,” she said.

A passenger washes her hands as she arrives at the Screening check-point at Chileka Airport in Blantyre. Photo credit :WFP / Tawonga Ngoma

WFP Malawi, as co-lead of the National Logistics Cluster, is facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance by augmenting logistical support in line with the government-led COVID-19 Preparedness and Response plan.

WFP is providing storage, transportation and engineering support at border posts, for screening and isolation, at health centers and hospitals.

So far, the Government of Iceland has provided USD 400,000 to WFP to continue providing logistics support for the COVID-19 response in Malawi.

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