President Lazarus Chakwera has described rising Covid-19 cases and deaths as the price the country’s citizens are paying after relaxing in observing Covid-19 preventive measures, mostly during the festive season.
The President made the remarks on Sunday in his 20th Radio Address, in which he called for collective efforts in fighting against the pandemic.
Chakwera stated that, during the recent festive season, some people in the country relaxed in vigilance against the virus.
“We are paying the price because many of us are back to the old ways of not wearing masks. Many of us are back to the old ways of not maintaining our distance from others. Many of us are back to the old ways of not washing our hands regularly.
“When I say many of us, I am including myself and all of us who are working in government, but our collective relaxation against the virus needs to end with immediate effect. We simply cannot afford to let this virus advance any farther,” Chakwera said.
The President added that the speed at which the virus has been spreading since Christmas was “very disturbing” and had put too much pressure on the healthcare service delivery system.
“We must keep each other safe by obeying guidelines, including early closures of drinking places and restrictions on public gatherings, which many are still violating.
“Because of these lapses in vigilance, I have directed the ministers of Homeland Security and Health to scale up the enforcement of Covid-19 safety guidelines with immediate effect,” Chakwera said.
He further called on Malawians to turn to God.
Chakwera indicated that he has joined his church in a programme of 21-day fasting and prayer, and encouraged the nation to call on God.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 has appealed to the public to make the right choices before the health system gets overwhelmed.
The warning comes when, on Saturday, the country registered 381 new Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths due to the pandemic, meaning that these are the highest figures the country has registered since coronavirus hit the country in April last year.
“The Choices that we make as individuals, families and communities will make the disease spread further or stop spreading.
“In as much as health care workers are doing a commendable job in [fighting against] this pandemic, we can ease the pressure of work and also save the limited resources if we choose to strictly adhere to the preventive and containment measures,” said the task force’s co-chairperson, John Phuka.
By Saturday evening, the country had a total of 2,067 active cases, out of which 80 cases were admitted to hospitals across the country, while a total of 220 people died.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.