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Government plans to re-open airports mid-August

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Government is planning to re-open airports for international flights from mid-August, after a five month shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, Ministry of Transport spokesperson James Chakwera confirmed Thursday.

“The planning meeting is currently underway on the modalities that will be followed before re-opening the airports. The date will be announced in due course,” Chakwera said.

Capital Hill ordered a halt to flights coming in or going out of Malawi on April 1, 2020 as a measure to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Malawian Airlines spokesperson Joseph Josiah said they are excited with the news although they were still waiting for official communication from the authorities.

“As an Airliner and a stakeholder, we haven’t received any communication from the government regarding re-opening dates for the airports. We are equally looking forward to the easing of the restrictions on international passenger services which the government imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.” Josiah said.

He said the impact of the closure was immense and unprecedented.

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“It meant five months of no operations and no revenue, you can imagine what that meant,” he said.

African countries are beginning to reopen their borders after shut down in March to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Kenya was the latest African country to announce dates for the resumption of scheduled flights, amid reports that its flag carrier plans to make job cuts ahead of a possible nationalisation.

The Kenyan government said domestic flights were allowed to resume on July 15 and international services on August 1, 2020.

As of Wednesday, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Malawi had risen to 4226, with 136 deaths and 2078 recoveries, according to the Ministry of Health.

Covid-19 originated in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 188 countries and regions.

The pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 515,000 people worldwide, with more than 10.6 million confirmed cases, while recoveries have surpassed 5.4 million, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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