President Lazarus Chakwera has ordered a curfew from 9pm to 5am and a temporary closure of schools for three weeks due to the surge of Covid 19 cases.
A visibly emotional Chakwera issued the order last night through a national television and radio address as Malawi continues to register a spike in new Covid 19 cases, including deaths.
As of Sunday, Malawi registered 685 new cases, 14 new deaths and 42 new recoveries, overall the number of active cases stands at 5, 910.
Since April 2020, the country has recorded a total of 12, 470 confirmed cases and 314 deaths, while 6, 036 people have recovered.
“Five days ago, I declared Malawi a state of national disaster due to the spike in Covid 19 cases. This year alone, 111 people have died from Covid 19, an average of 7 people per day,” Chakwera stated.
The Malawi leader has since ordered that all schools should immediately close and those in boarding schools should remain in campus until health officials assess the situation.
But those writing final examinations will remain in school until they finish their exams.
The closure of schools comes barely 3 weeks after the opening of the 2021 academic year, following several disruptions last year due to the pandemic.
On the curfew, the President announced that businesses will have limited operating hours.
“All drinking joints should close by 8pm, markets should close at 5pm. All public places or business premises should be disinfected and provide hand washing materials, everyone should wear a face masks in public places at all time or risk a fine”.
He went on to say “no person must be found wandering around socially between 9pm and 5am”.
Religious gatherings have also been restricted to a maximum of 50 people, from the previous 100 people limit. Churches are yet to comment on this arrangement.
“I have ordered the Minister of Justice to gazette the rules tomorrow (Monday) to ensure strict enforcement and adherence by the public,” Chakwera added
Last Tuesday, Malawi lost 2 senior cabinet ministers Sidik Mia and Lingson Belekanyama due to Covid 19.