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Covid-19 hits Lazarus Chakwera Cabinet

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Sidik Mia

Two ministers in President Lazarus Chakwera’s cabinet have tested positive for Covid-19 while a third one is in self-isolation.

The virus has also not spared Parliament as Deputy Speaker, Madalitso Kazombo, also announced on Thursday that he tested positive.

Malawi News can confirm that Minister of Transport Mohammed Sidik Mia has mild symptoms of Covid-19.

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In a statement issued yesterday, Mia has since advised anyone who has been in close contact with him in the past few days to get tested

“I have self-isolated at home. I have mild symptoms and my condition is very stable. I urge you all dear friends to please adhere to the Covid-19 safety guidelines. Covid is real,“ Mia said.

He applauded healthcare workers for their dedication.

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Minister of Local Government, Lingison Belekanyama, has also been hit by the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Minister of Mining, Rashid Gaffar is in self-isolation as a precautionary measure after he exposed himself to people with coronavirus.

“I am on self-isolation at home because I was exposed to people who have been diagnosed with Covid-19,” Gaffar said.

Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo was the first cabinet minister to be diagnosed with Covid-19 and recovered after receiving treatment at Kamuzu Central Hospital.

When asked to comment on the issue, State House Press Secretary Brian Banda said President Chakwera will continue taking the lead on helping to find ways to fight the pandemic.

“The President has always championed the fight against Covid-19 and has made and continues to make extra efforts for the safety of Malawi and her people,” Banda said.

As of Thursday, Malawi had recorded 7, 611 Covid-19 cases; 1407 active, with 5, 791 recoveries and 203 deaths, according to Ministry of Health data.

Meanwhile, Britain has extended its travel ban to Malawians and other southern African countries amid concern over a variant of Covid-19 linked to the countries.

According to the statement from the UK government, people who have been in or transited through South Africa in the last 10 days are no longer allowed into the UK.

“Entry into England will be banned to those who have travelled from or through any southern African country in the last 10 days, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola – as well as Seychelles and Mauritius.

“This does not include British and Irish nationals, longer-term visa holders and permanent residents, who will be able to enter but are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with their household,” the statement reads.

T h e restrictions have taken effect today from 6 am (4 am British time) to protect against what they call the spread of a new Covid-19 variant initially detected in Southern Africa countries.

It is believed that the variant was recorded in London and north-west England, both in contact with people who had been in South Africa.

On Thursday, Malawi announced that it would enforce strict Covid-19 prevention measures that were gazetted in 2020 to contain further spread of the pandemic due to the recent alarming rise of the cases.

The enforcement of the regulations will be in all places, including funerals.

For funerals, the dead are to be buried within 24 hours to avoid keeping people in one place for a long time.

Preparation of communal food at funerals has been banned. Funeral homes are not to be congested and people must observe social distance and wear masks at all times.

What are Covid-19 symptoms?

  • New and continuous cough – coughing a lot for more than an hour, or having three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • Fever – a temperature above 37.8C
  • Change in smell or taste – either you cannot taste or smell anything, or these senses are different to normal.
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