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Covid-19 claims 170 lives in 7 days

UNITED FORCE—Chakwera (centre) flanked by government officials

Charles Mwansambo

President Lazarus Chakwera has expressed concern over the rate at which Covid-19 is killing people in the country, with 170 patients succumbing to the scourge in the past seven days.

This is over double the number of patients who died in the previous week, when 80 people did not make it.

Addressing the nation in Lilongwe, Chakwera said the sharp rise in Covid-19 deaths meant directives he issued Sunday last week must remain in effect.

The President said, as people were adhering to Covid-19 preventive measures, the Treasury also complied with his directive to urgently release K17.52 billion for use in Covid-19 preventive and treatment efforts.

“As a result, 100 tanks of oxygen and 100 flowmeters have already been procured while negotiations with a supplier to procure 1,000 cylinders in bulk are underway. On Friday, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs in my office issued further instructions to the bank to transfer the funds to the following 10 clusters: Health, education, information, water development, lands, [Malawi] Police Service, [Malawi] Prison Service, National Intelligence [Service], irrigation and gender and social welfare.

“I wish to state that the heads of these clusters will be required to submit to my office and release to the public a report of their expenditures every week. I will immediately deal with any cluster that fails to do this or any cluster that is found to be engaging in wasteful conduct,” Chakwera said.

Chakwera also weighed in on the issue of excessive use of force by law enforcement agents, saying there was need to properly handle people found not wearing face masks.

“I have directed the Minister of Homeland Security to work with the Inspector General in ensuring that police officers are properly trained in the enforcement of these rules.

“Citizens found to be in violation of public safety laws must be subjected to due process, not police brutality or beatings. Malawi is not a police State, for what we have in this country is a police service, not a police force,” Chakwera said.

Secretary for Health Charles Mwansambo said the task of establishing Covid-19 field centres in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba was progressing well.

On his part, Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 co- Chairperson John Phuka said funerals were aiding the spread of coronavirus, urging people to exercise extra care at funerals.

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