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Covid-19 prevention measures put on hold

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Chikosa Silungwe

Attorney – General (AG) Chikosa Silungwe has told the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to stop the enforcement of Public Health Rules on preventing the spread of the virus which were announced last week.

Silungwe in a letter to the task force explains that the enforcement of the rules has been suspended by the High Court in a matter commonly known as the lockdown case through a judicial review cause number 22 of 2020.

“This means that the suspension imposed by the court is still in force. The government cannot, therefore, enforce or implement the rules until the suspension is lifted. In view of the foregoing, you are advised to reverse your decision to implement the rules by way of a press release since the matter is still in court,” reads the letter in part.

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The AG said his office is handling the matter with utmost urgency considering the rising number of cases of Covid-19 in the country.

The task force on Wednesday last week said due to the escalation of infections and deaths related to strict measures were needed to be implemented to contain the outbreak.

Co-chairperson of the task force John Phuka said local councils and law enforcement agencies should ensure enforcement of suspension of public gatherings, workshops, mobile market, banning of street vending and strict measures in operations of transport services.

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This is according to the Public Health rules as gazetted in April, which were later challenged at the high court through an injunction obtained by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition and others.

A panel of three judges sitting as a Constitutional Court is currently hearing the matter and parties involved have been asked to file submissions by July 18.

Health experts have urged Malawians to continue following other measures that will help them and other in curbing the spread of virus which had as of Monday infected over 2,400 people out of whom 39 have died while 747 others had recovered.

Nearly 21,000 people have been tested.

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