BNS to take half of its capacity on inauguration day

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By Earlene Chimoyo and Jane Kaonga

 

President Lazarus Chakwera has ordered a reduction in the number of the people to attend the presidential inauguration and Independence Day celebrations in Lilongwe.

The citizenry is expected to celebrate this year’s Independence Day together with the inauguration of Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima.

Scheduled for the Bingu National Stadium, in Lilongwe the two activities are expected to pull a large crowd, a development which is likely to contravene social distancing under the COVID-19 preventive measures.

Speaking in his national address this morning, the President acknowledged the calls for cancelation of the event as an option, but was quick to justify why they will carry on with the event.

“The merits of this approach are not lost on me, I believe what is best for us as a society is to find new ways of functioning in the face of COVID19 not paralyzing out functions all together.

Chakwera went on to say that it is high time the country has to find way of continuing its operations as a nation in the midst of the pandemic.

“COVID-19 does not demand the end of our way of life, but the adoption of a new way of life. That new way of life must strike a balance between public safety and social sustenance”.

The president has further asked the presidential task force on COVID19 to work together with the committee in ensuring that safety measures such as the capacity cut are followed with priority.

He said the seating capacity of the venue which is 40 000, should be reduced by half, in order to follow rules of social distancing.

Meanwhile, presidential inauguration and Independence Day celebrations organising committee has pledged uncompromised safety of all patrons during the event.

The assurance comes against a background of a stampede that led to loss of life and injuries during a similar event in Lilongwe 2 years ago as people scrambled to enter the Stadium.

Chairperson of the event’s organising committee Khumbize Chiponda said they have engaged various stakeholders in the health sector and that they will provide masks for every patron admitted to the venue.

“We have a health subcommittee which is looking into that, and we have also engaged Red Cross and we are also working with the ministry of health”.

She added that they are aware of the possible high turnout and they have arranged for seats outside the stadium, to control the numbers inside the venue.

 

 

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