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Govt gazettes new Covid laws

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Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has gazetted new laws that will help the government and stakeholders fight the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that any person found contravening them will face the law.

She announced this during the first daily Covid-19 briefing in Lilongwe Monday.

Following gazetting of the laws, burial for Covid-19 patients would be done within 24 hours, and the event be strictly attended by not more than 50 people. Public gatherings will also be subject to the 50-people-per-gathering regulation.

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“A public gathering of any sort must not go beyond 50, whether in churches or weddings. If you are found contravening the rules, you will face the law,” Kandodo Chiponda said.

She, however, said the gathering cap would not apply to National Assembly meetings and those convened to discuss Covid-19 interventions.

Education institutions are also spared from the limitation.

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Other new rules are that any person found not wearing a mask in a public place would be fined K10, 000 maximum while other offences are punishable by a fine of K100, 000 and imprisonment for three months.

Such offences include convening, hosting and attending a gathering of more than 50 people.

For those diagnosed with coronavirus, failure to adhere to instructions issued by health workers is also an offence.

The new laws also have provisions that stipulate that an employer, family member or community leaders are obligated to report suspected cases of Covid-19 or death to health authorities.

Information Minister Gospel Kazako stressed that, despite the pandemic wreaking havoc, thousands of people were recovering, hence people should not lose hope.

He asked Malawians to unite in the fight against the pandemic.

At the briefing, Civic Education and National Unity Minister Timothy Mtambo said, while the government was playing its rightful role, individuals were equally key to defeating coronavirus.

He said, as part of the government’s contribution to the fight against Covid-19, it would make related information available in every corner of the country.

Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 co- Chairperson John Phuka announced that the country registered 557 new cases of coronavirus infection yesterday, all of which were local transmissions.

Phuka indicated that, within the same hours, 44 people had recovered, 12 were discharged from hospitals while seven died. At least 162 were admitted to hospitals across the country.

The briefings will be happening everyday through media houses starting from 6:30pm in line with President Lazarus Chakwera’s directive on Sunday.

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