Malawi Risks Spread of COVID-19-Analysts
Public health and good governance experts have cautioned against the delays in imposing a national lockdown as a means of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
On Friday, High court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda granted Human Rights Defenders Coalition, church and society of Livingstonia CCAP synod and some individual Malawians a seven-day injunction barring government from implementing a 21-day lockdown which was to be effected on Saturday midnight.
It would have been the toughest measure yet taken by government to contain COVID-19 in the country.
Government has been faulted for failing to outline measures to alleviate Malawians during the lockdown period, as strict measures have been put in place.
Government spokesperson Mark Botomani has told ZODIAK Online the authorities will not act on the injunction.
The development has however sparked mixed reaction from the citizenry, as the country is still registering cases of the global pandemic.
Public Health Expert Maziko Matemba fears any delay in executing a lockdown could lead to further spread of the pandemic.
“People are dying and we need to control this so that there is no transmission of the pandemic, the purpose of the lockdown was to prevent the spread of the virus and I strongly believe the lockdown has to be executed,” he said.
Judge Kenyatta’s verdict has come a day after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an application by the Malawi Electoral Commission to extend time for holding the presidential polls beyond the 150 days as ordered by the constitutional court on February 3 which nullified the May 21 Presidential election.
The electoral body claimed it sought extension of time due to the global pandemic.
On the other hand, Blantyre based good governance expert Victor Chipofya is of the view that government could be politicizing the pandemic.
“You can't just lockdown a country without involving and consulting others,” he said.
“We are not following the right track and we are politicizing the whole situation,” the analyst said.
Chipofya has also tipped government to engage stakeholders for an effective lockdown.
“This is the time to bring in opposition parties, CSO’S and other groupings and map the way forward,” he added.
As of Friday 17th April, Malawi had registered 17 cases of Corona virus with 2 deaths.
Africa could see anywhere between 300,000 and 3.3 million deaths due to coronavirus, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, if no proper prevention measures are employed.