By Mandy Potani
President Lazarus Chakwera yesterday urged Malawians to remain steadfast and hopeful in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his fourth weekly address to the nation, the president said, So far, as much as the pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe, Malawi managed to register fewer fatalities.
“Although we are in the middle of a pandemic like the rest of the world, we as a nation have so much to be thankful for in spite of it. Today, I would like to give you the latest update on our fight against Covid-19 by way of a vote of thanks. For a start, I thank God for his mercy towards us by sparing us some of the havoc the virus has wreaked on other parts of the globe. For example, although the number of those who have been found with the virus has now passed 5, 000, only 5 percent have gotten sick enough to need hospitalisation,” he said.
Chakwera further said of the 389 health workers who had contracted the virus in the country, only one succumbed while the rest are in recovery.
He said so far, over 37,000 people have been tested, including close to 2, 000 who have been tested this week alone.
Chakwera also said the government is putting in place measures that will resuscitate the economy so that people’s lives return to normalcy.
One of the measures is finding ways of opening airports as well as reopening of schools with all safety measures in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“For instance, in the education cluster of the taskforce [on Covid-19], guidelines have already been developed on what schools need to do to reopen safely. In fact, we will start assessing the readiness of each school this coming week so that the schools that meet our safety standards can reopen in early September. Similarly, the ministry of transport is making great strides in meeting the safety standards of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) so that we are now confident that we will safely open Kamuzu International Airport in the first week of September. When that happens, passengers arriving from abroad will need to have a certificate showing that they had been tested no more than ten days prior, be tested again on arrival, and be transported to designated hotels for 48 hours of self-isolation while waiting for the results and before being directed where to go based on their results,” he said.
The head of state also acknowledged individuals and organisations that have worked with the government in the fight again the pandemic. So far, according to Chakwera, has had an agreement with an organisation called Mask for All which has distributed 4 million masks and will distribute 3 million more.
Meanwhile, President Lazarus Chakwera has made appointments for the State House with immediate effect. Overstone Kondowe is special advisor of people living with albinism and disabilities; Reverend Brian Kamwendo is special advisor on religious Affairs and is being deputized by Sheikh Hashim Abba. The president has also appointed Brian Banda as Press Secretary, Martha Chikuni as head of media marketing and Solomoni Kavuta as head of ICT , Major Precious Mahara Gausi is the Assistant Aide De Camp in the department of security services.