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Government gets tough on Covid-19 measures

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The government has announced that it would enforce strict Covid-19 prevention measures that were gazetted in 2020 to contain the further spread of the pandemic due to the recent “alarming rise” of the cases.

Members of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Ministry of Homeland Security and Ministry of Local Government officials said this during a press briefing held Thursday in Lilongwe.

Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said, by Thursday, 50 percent of the isolation spaces reserved for Covid-19 patients had been covered while the number of cases continued to rise.

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“One hundred and five returnees from South Africa, who are expected to arrive in the country through Mwanza Border, will be quarantined at Mapanga Prison Training School,” she said.

She further urged Malawians to remain calm, stressing that the country had enough testing kits that could last up to three months.

Covid-19 Taskforce co- Chairperson John Phuka said over half of the total cases being recorded on a daily basis were locally transmitted.

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“The taskforce has involved the Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Homeland Security to assist in enforcing the measures that were gazetted last year,” he said.

Local Government Principal Secretary Charles Kalemba said, as a means of containing Covid-19 cases, bottle stores, pubs, bars and clubs would be open for six hours only from 2pm to 8pm to allow people buy beer and drink at home.

At funerals, the ministry said dead bodies should be laid to rest within 24 hours.

“No communal preparation of food shall be allowed during funeral ceremonies. Funeral houses should not be occupied by more than four people at a time,” Kalemba said.

Homeland Affairs Principal Secretary Kennedy Nkhoma said police officers, both civilian and uniformed, would be checking all public gatherings to make sure that people are adhering to the rules.

The ministry has also indicated that minibus operators would be engaged to reduce their capacity to two passengers per seat.

By Thursday, cumulatively, Malawi had recorded 7,337 cases of Covid-19, with 199 deaths.

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